Despite Promises, President Continues Split Favoring Punishment Over Treatment
World Leaders Call for New Direction in Drug Policy
WASHINGTON, DC -- A group of police officers, judges and prosecutors who have waged the so-called "war on drugs" is criticizing President Obama because his federal drug control budget, released today, does not match up to his rhetoric on treating drug abuse as a health problem.
Despite the White House drug czar's office saying the administration is shepherding a "revolutionary shift" to address drug policy through a "public health approach," Obama's federal drug control budget maintains a Bush-era disparity devoting roughly 60 percent of the budget to punishment-oriented approaches and roughly 40 percent for treatment and prevention.
Since taking office, President Obama has repeatedly said things like, “We have to think more about drugs as a public health problem," which requires "shifting resources."
"The president sure does talk a good game about treating drugs as a health issue but so far it's just that: talk," said Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and a former narcotics officer in Baltimore. "Instead of continuing to fund the same old 'drug war' approaches that are proven not to work, the president needs to put his money where his mouth is."
The release of the drug budget comes just days after President Obama returned from the Summit of the Americas meeting in Colombia, where he was pressed to open up a debate on legalizing and regulating drugs by sitting Latin American presidents like Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia and Otto Perez Molina of Guatemala.
"The chorus of voices calling for a real debate on ending prohibition is growing louder all the time," said Franklin. "President Obama keeps saying he is open to a discussion but he never seems willing to actually have that discussion. Polls show that three out of four U.S. voters think the 'war on drugs' is a failure and a majority now support marijuana legalization. The time for real change is now, but at the Summit of the Americas President Obama announced more than $130 million in aid to fund the continued effort to arrest drug traffickers in Latin America. This prohibition strategy hasn't worked in the past and it cannot work in the future. Latin American leaders know it, and President Obama must know it. Let's stop the charade and begin to bring drugs under control through legalization."
The 2012 National Drug Control Strategy, released by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, can be found online at http://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/2012-national-drug-control-strategy
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) represents police, prosecutors, judges, prison wardens, federal agents and others who want to legalize and regulate drugs after fighting on the front lines of the "war on drugs" and learning firsthand that prohibition only serves to worsen addiction and violence. More info at http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 17, 2012
CONTACT: Tom Angell - (202) 557-4979 or firstname.lastname@example.org