By Jordan Smith, Fri., Dec. 6, 2002
Meanwhile, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, headed by national drug czar John Walters, unveiled a new "drugged driving" campaign that has drug-policy reformers crying foul. The ONDCP initiative, in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, targets drivers who may be under influence of drugs. Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the national advocacy group Drug Policy Alliance, called the plan nothing more than a "thinly disguised zero-tolerance policy that will do little to detect impaired driving and much to punish responsible citizens for crimes they did not commit."
At issue is how law enforcement officers would go about testing for drugged motorists. Critics say that ONDCP's policy does not take into account the fact that certain drugs, including THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, remain in the body longer than alcohol without causing impairment. Nonetheless, ONDCP announced it is going forward with its plans and will be offering resources nationally to both state and local law enforcement officers who'd like to follow the czar's charge, as well as providing state legislators with a "framework" for drugged driving legislation.
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