The new Obama administration anti-drug strategy raises the alarm on the nation's growing middle-class problem of opioid addictions, as heroin and painkillers become a suburban and middle-class scourge, says the Christian Science Monitor. Acting “drug czar” Michael Botticelli emphasized that “we cannot arrest or incarcerate our way out of the drug problem.” Drug overdoses are poised to surpass traffic accidents as the leading cause of accidental death this year, says the American College of Physicians.
Botticelli says the administration “recognizes that substance abuse is a public health issue and not just a criminal justice issue.” The strategy says a simplistic enforcement-focused “war on drugs” is “counterproductive, inefficient, and costly.” The document does not adjust the administration's stance on marijuana, and pot remains classified as a Schedule I drug, considered by the government as among the most dangerous and addicting. Marijuana remains a “serious challenge” to the nation's health, the strategy said. “Among those challenges are the declining perceptions of harm – and associated increases in use – of marijuana among young people,” it notes, citing marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington.