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White House Releases 2014 National Drug Control Strategy


ObamaThe White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (more commonly known as the Drug Czar’s office; ONDCP) released its 2014 National Drug Control Strategy. The strategy has shifted some from previous years in that it more clearly focuses on reducing the harms associated with substance misuse, such as overdose and the transmission of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and other infectious diseases, while also reducing the harms associated with punitive drug policies, such as reducing the use of mandatory minimum sentencing. The Administration’s rhetoric has evolved over the last couple of years – reflecting the fact that three-quarters of Americans consider the drug war a failure – emphasizing the need to treat drug misuse as a health issue and stop relying on the criminal justice system to deal with the problem.

The strategy, however, calls for the expansion of drug courts, which continue to treat drug users in the criminal justice system, where punishment is often the response to addiction-related behaviors such as positive urine screens or missed appointments. It discourages the use of words like “addict” and “substance abuser”, noting that such stigmatizing words may make people less willing to seek treatment, but continues to embrace arresting and criminalizing people who use drugs despite evidence that fear of arrest is a major reason why people with substance misuse disorders don’t seek help.

“The Administration says drug use is a health issue but then advocates for policies that put people in the criminal justice system,” said Bill Piper, director of National Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “Until the Drug Czar says it is time to stop arresting people for drug use, he is not treating drug use as a health issue no matter what he says. I know of no other health issue in which people are thrown in jail if they don’t get better.”

The strategy, however, does take important steps in the right direction including advocating for greater access to naloxone, a low-cost opiate antidote that reverses the effects of an opiate overdose; endorsing state 911 Good Samaritan laws which provide immunity from arrests to people who call 911 to help someone who is overdosing; strongly supporting the expansion of syringe exchange programs to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and other infectious diseases; and acknowledging that the U.S. has the largest per capita prison population in the world, which is costly in both money and societal impact. In particular, the strategy notes that the agency will be setting 5-year goals for reducing overdose fatalities, a goal that drug policy reformers had been seeking.

“Director Botticelli should be applauded for taking strong steps to reduce drug overdose fatalities and the spread of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and other infectious diseases,” said Piper. “His leadership on these issues, and his work overall to reduce the stigma associated with substance misuse, are encouraging”.

But advocates say simply expanding public health interventions is not enough given that this Administration’s drug policies remain focused on punitive approaches – including arresting more than 750,000 Americans annually for low-level marijuana possession and refusing to recognize the medical value of marijuana.

Every independent commission to examine marijuana policy has concluded that its harms have been greatly exaggerated – including the 1944 LaGuardia Report, President Nixon’s 1972 Schaffer Commission report, and the 1999 Institute of Medicine report commissioned by the Office of National Drug Control Policy.  23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use.  17 states have decriminalized marijuana, and voters in two states – Washington and Colorado – regulate marijuana like alcohol.  Polling shows that a majority of Americans support legalization of marijuana and believe the federal government should not enforce federal laws in states where it is legal.

“The Administration continues to keep its head in the sand when it comes to marijuana law reform,” said Piper. “Hundreds of thousands of Americans are being arrested each year for nothing more than possessing small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Once arrested they can be discriminated against in employment and housing for life. The Administration can’t ignore the destructive impact of mass arrests forever.”

Source: Drug Policy Alliancemake a donation


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Johnny Green


  1. Manditory unschedualed drug test for all politictions 4 times a year please. Most people in the U.S have to do this if they want to work at least when they get hired for a job. I have worked in multiple places whe they randomly test someone weekly, another monthly ,another yearly depending on amount of employees. Why not our politictions?

  2. It should have never been allowed to create private prisons and we should lobby to make that known. The only prisons should be state owned and operated. One per state and it would be fulled with murders, rapist, child molesters and other criminals with crimes that have victim with their crimes. Never drug offenders of any kinds. It is flat out ridicules that we ever started throwing people in prison for “crimes” in which no one was effected at all.

  3. The worst thing about marijuana is the costly, wasteful, FAILED, terrible prohibition against it. For anyone to say that the “war on marijuana” has made a difference make that person a fool. The biggest crock of crap in the war on drugs is the fact that people do go to jail for just doing drugs. It must stop asap and that’s plain and simple.

  4. Opiates. Barbiturates. Alcohol. Tranquilizers. Antidepressants. Mood elevators. Sleeping aids. Okay, Senators and Representatives, which one of you is without “sin”?

  5. John Silverio on

    The system is rigged for the benefit of the powerful and wealthy monopolies that over the people. To think that President Nixon made marijuana Schedule 1 classification even when the Shaeffer Report said the opposite. Any politician in Washington tacitly has supported President Nixon’s racist drug policy. (Democrats included!) Pharmaceutical and medical giants know they cannot own the patent on marijuana. Funny, how the US Government owns the patent on medical marijuana:


  6. John Silverio on

    Private prisons are promised future and present inventory by the political powers in return for their services. Such a pathetic shame that our country commits this action while telling the rest of the world how to treat their own citizens.

  7. John Silverio on

    All marijuana advocates must get out the word about Christie. He must not even win the primary. My attention will focused on preventing a future political career for him.

  8. 90% of ppl who do drug court end up in failing and in prison…its one of the biggest set ups there is..

  9. We the people didn’t make that decision and have never had any say in the process.

    In 1972, President Nixon made the decision, alone, despite being told by the government created National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse that it wasn’t really that dangerous and we shouldn’t be treating it criminally, but should find other ways to deter use.

    Then in 1988, President Reagan made the same decision, alone, despite being told by DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young that it didn’t belong on Schedule I and that it has clear medical value.

    Then in 2011 the DEA denied rescheduling saying “[t]here is no currently accepted medical use for marijuana in the United States,” and that “[t]he limited existing clinical evidence is not adequate to warrant rescheduling of marijuana under the CSA.”.

    Then in 2013 the court ruled that the DEA is the expert on whether or not enough accepted medical research has been done to reschedule.

  10. What we need is young fresh minds in there. People that know what the deal is now days. You young people getting into politics. That is the future I believe. New ideas in, old ideas out.

  11. Jared Abdullah Garrison on

    without drug “convictions” the jails would empty…not as much crime is happening as the media and arrest records indicate…smoking weed is not a crime..evil politicians made it a violation…rape is a crime ppl….and most of the prisoners are minorities with marijuana charges…can’t let the racism go huh?

  12. IMO we made a big mistake many years ago. We made it so that MJ could not be researched like it should of been down through time. Today we face topics like CBD oil helping with epilepsy kids, vets being helped with PTSD, and other medical claims that go around like cancer treatment, help to get off of prescription pain pills, etc, etc, etc. The list goes on. They tell us the research just ain’t there to justify making changes. No wonder its not there, we wouldn’t allow it…. again, we the people, made the decisions to make it like it is today. I think that was a big mistake we made, and it seems like we are still making it now.

    I’m not impressed with their plans for 2014.

  13. If the excuse to keep canabis illegal is because it’s a drug and drug abuse is wrong. Liquor of all types should be illegal. Drug abuse is it abuse. Why does any one need to drink. Drunk politicians that are addicted to power

  14. Maybe we should just start drug testing all politicians and then lets see how fast this shit changes!

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