Official portrait of United States Director of...
Official portrait of United States Director of National Drug Policy Gil Kerlikowske. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Science-driven drug policy reform released on April 24, 2013

This Wednesday, Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the National Drug Control Policy, was joined at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine by Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Tony Batts, Baltimore’s policy commissioner, and Dr. Eric Strain, director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and Research at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center to present the 2013 National Drug Control Strategy.

Prevent, Expand, Reform and Support

These four words represent the cornerstones of the plan to reform our drug policy. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s web pages on The White House website the reform drug policy highlights:

  1. PREVENT drug use before it ever begins through education
  2. EXPAND access to treatment for Americans struggling with addiction
  3. REFORM our criminal justice system to break the cycle of drug use, crime, and incarceration
  4. SUPPORT Americans in recovery and lift the stigma associated with substance use disorders

The hope is that millions of people in the United States will soon become eligible (within the next year) to receive treatment for substance abuse under the Affordable Care Act. This coupled with reforms in the criminal justice system to increase the number of drug courts and probation programs should assist in reducing the incarceration rates, being “smart on crime” as opposed to “tough on crime.”

“I was wrong. Addiction is not a moral failing.”

When Gil Kerlikowske made his prepared remarks on Wednesday morning he offered the following admission:

“I’ve spent my entire career in law enforcement. For most of those 37 years, like most people, I believed that a person addicted to drugs had a moral problem — a failing, a lack of will. I was wrong. Addiction is not a moral failing.”

A good first step…understanding the science of addiction

Here you can enjoy a video of Dr. Nora Volkow explaining the science of addiction.

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Here’s hoping that drug policy reform will help many find recovery: A positive step forward for those suffering from addiction, their families and friends – and the nation as a whole.

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