With drug czar Gil Kerlikowske making the case for more drug treatment, why is the Obama administration proposing to spend a higher percentage of its anti-drug resources on law enforcement than did George W. Bush, ask Robert Weiner and Zoe Pagonis in the Baltimore Sun. Kerlikowske calls for a balanced approach – combining tough but fair enforcement with robust prevention and treatment — yet the pending federal budget request for fiscal year 2010 includes a 3.3 percent reduction in treatment and prevention since 2008, exacerbating the bias toward enforcement, which now represents 65.6 percent of the budget, even higher than the last administration’s 62.3 percent, Weiner and Pagonis say.
With 20.8 million Americans needing treatment but unable to get it Congress should double the $5 billion currently budgeted for prevention and treatment, say Weiner and Pagonis. Weiner is a former spokesman for the office that Kerlikowske heads, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. A federal study recently reported that 68 percent of arrestees in 10 cities tested positive for illegal drugs. As long as there are addicts and drug abusers, people will buy and sell drugs.