Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske told the Senate Judiciary Committee this week that he would take a balanced, science-based approach to the job, the Associated Press reports. He will develop a strategy addressing drug-related violence along the Mexican border. “Our nation’s demand for drugs often fuels drug production and trafficking, as well as violence and corruption, within other nations,” Kerlikowske said. “Domestic drug use directly funds the terrible drug-related crime currently wracking Mexico and fuels illegal armed groups in Colombia.” The nominee said that “the greatest contribution we can make toward stability would be to reduce our demand for illicit drugs” in the United States.”
President Obama last month nominated Kerlikowske, 59, as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), said he was “pleased that Mr. Kerlikowske supports combating drug use and crime with all the tools at our disposal, including enforcement, prevention and treatment.” AP says Obama’s choice of Kerlikowske and an increased emphasis on alternative drug courts signal a sharp departure from Bush-administration policies on cutting the foreign supply and curbing U.S. drug use.