May 25, 2012

U.S. seeks information from other countries on drug treatment

Posted Friday, May 25

Gil Kerlikowske, director of the national drug control policy, said this week the U.S. views drug abuse as a public health issue as much as a crime issue and is looking to gain information from countries in Europe and elsewhere about how to treat drug addiction as a disease, Rueters reports.

The goal is to take a more understanding and proactive approach to drug abuse rather than the previous fighting “war on drugs,” he said while in London, adding that major advances in medical science have shown that drug abuse is a disease of the brain that can be prevented and treated.

Instead of putting non-violent offenders in jail, where they may be released and re-enter the system again in the future, Kerlikowske says the U.S. should put a program in place the works toward preventing and treating substance abuse, helping addicts recover and exploring reforms to the justice system.

“It's very clear we can't arrest our way out of this problem,” he said to reporters.

Kerlikowske was in London as part of a tour through Sweden, Britain and Russia. He said the Obama administration wanted to see how the countries dealt with drug addiction issues to see if parts of their approaches could be used in the U.S. Kerlikowske also previously visited Portugal, Italy, Mexico, Colombia and other countries in South America.

Click here to read the full story in Reuters.

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