The U.S. should employ techniques it uses to fight international terrorism in its war on drugs, says drug czar John Walters. Interviewed by Reuters before today’s release of President Bush’s drug control strategy for 2005, Walters said international drug traffickers shared many characteristics with terrorist networks: Most drug organizations are no longer centrally controlled, with one command running everything from production to distribution, or as Walters put it, “from the farm to the arm.” “We now have tools and ways of sharing intelligence and looking at these organizations more as businesses. We begin to ask questions,” he said. “Where is it most particularly vulnerable? What does it take to cause a disruption in those markets?”
Bush proposed spending a total of $12.4 billion this year, an increase of 2.2 percent over fiscal 2005. The administration has singled out two domestic programs for major increases while targeting others for deep cuts or elimination. It wants to raise funding for random drug testing in schools from $10 million to $25.4 million, arguing that such testing is “powerful, safe and effective.” It also wants to spend $30 million more on setting up drugs courts, which aim to place users into treatment rather than sending them to prison. In the past year, some 400 of these courts have begun operating, bringing the total nationwide to 1,621.