May 21, 2012

Data suggests targeting substance abuse as health issue may decrease crime

Posted Monday, May 21

Officials said last week that based on new U.S. crime statistics, which show how illegal drugs play a key role in crime, tackling drugs as a public health issue could lower national crime rate, Reuters reports.

A report released last week by the White House Office of the National Drug Control Policy, based on thousands of arrestee interviews and drug tests, show on average that 71 percent of men arrested in 10 U.S. cities last year tested positive for an illegal substance when they were taken into custody.

This data is being used as evidence by U.S. officials to support President Barack Obama’s drug strategy to break the crime cycle by targeting substance abuse with treatment rather than jail for nonviolent crimes.

“Tackling the drug issue could go a long way in reducing our crime issues,” Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, told Reuters.

“These data confirm that we must address our drug problem as a public health issue, not just a criminal justice issue.”

Click here to read more on the story at Reuters.

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