R.I.P. 'War on Drugs'?
Obama administration's top drug cop says 'War' must end
By Jordan Smith,
7:03AM, Fri. May 15, 2009
As far as the new top dog for drug policy is concerned, the "War on Drugs" needs to be retired. That's what White House Office of National Drug Control Policy head Gil Kerlikowske told the Wall Street Journal yesterday: "Regardless of how you try to explain to people its a 'war on drugs' or a 'war on product,' people see a war as a war on them," he said. "We're not at war with people in this country."
That is welcome news and certainly suggests that Kerlikowske intends to turn the nation's drug policy around – hopefully in a direction that re-frames the drug "problem" first as one of public health, and that prioritizes treatment and harm reduction, as he suggested he would during his April 1 Senate confirmation hearing.
Kerlikowske, who was Seattle Police chief before taking on the ONDCP job, says he does not support drug legalization, but does support needle exchange, which he says is "part of the complete public health model for dealing with addiction."