President Obama Speaks Out on Addiction – Drug Education Classes Help

by Mike Miller January 2, 2012

Usually with government you know exactly where they stand on drugs and their legality. However, this changed with current US President Barack Obama when he announced that his government would not go after the medical marijuana industry in states where it was legal. Now, that unpopular decision is turning course (like most political issues) and the medical marijuana industry is struggling for survival.

The Obama Administration is not talking about undertaking some unprecedented approaches to addressing drug addiction.

The Department of Justice released new data showing that drug use cost our society about $193 billion a year. Fifty six billion of those dollars can be traced directly back to costs associated solely with the criminal justice system.

Contributing to this immense cost are the more than seven million people in the United States who are under the supervision of the criminal justice system with more than two million behind bars.

For states and localities across the country, the costs of managing these populations have grown significantly. Between 1988 and 2009, state corrections spending increased from $12 billion to more than $50 billion per year.

Breaking the Cycle

Gil Kerlikowske, director of National Drug Control Policy outlined unprecedented actions being undertaken by the Obama Administration to address this challenge by breaking the cycle of drug use, crime, incarceration and re-arrest.

The Obama Administration’s approach to criminal justice drug policy is guided by three facts; that addiction is a disease that can be treated; people can recover and new interventions are needed to appropriately address substance abuse and drug-related crime.

This last fiscal year, the Obama Administration spent $10.4 billion on drug prevention and treatment programs compared to $9.2 billion on domestic drug enforcement. 

Do You Agree With These?

The administration is implementing the Second Chance Act, which provides funding for programs that improve coordination of reentry services and policies at the state, tribal, and local levels, including demonstration grants, reentry courts, family-centered programs, substance abuse treatment, employment, mentoring and other services.
Expansion of drug courts, which place non-violent drug offenders into treatment instead of prison.

Last year, the Department of Justice awarded $100 million to support 178 state and local reentry grants to provide a wide range of services and in late September awarded another $83 million to 118 new grantees.

Encouragement to housing authorities nationally to lease to offenders returning to the community and to ensure that they understand that they have the discretion to lease to all but two specific classes of felon.

I applaud any thinking outside the box when it comes to stopping America’s addiction problem. I respect any feedback any of you loyal readers would like to contribute.

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