The current United States administration is aiming to solve the problem of drug abuse using an alternative approach — to deal with addiction as a disease that can be treated and prevented with the right measures.
National drug control policy director Gil Kerlikowske said that the present government is working with the international community to effectively combat the problem of substance abuse, but without the need to incorporate strong law enforcement actions.
Kerlikowske explained that medical advancements have proven that drug abuse is a chronic disease of the brain that can be treated or prevented. In fact, the anti-drug abuse czar is encouraging other countries to choose programs that will help addicts to recover and revise drug laws that are not very effective in breaking the addiction cycle.
“It’s very clear we can’t arrest our way out of this problem,” Kerlikowske said. “The availability of quality treatment and the engagement of the public health sector and primary care physicians in drug issues are very critical.”
The former police chief is taking his tour around different countries like Sweden, Britain, and Russia to see how other nations deal with drug abuse and whether there are points that the United States can adopt from these countries to enhance their own efforts against drug addiction.
“…it should be noted that about 85 percent of all drug treatment research is conducted or funded in the United States…so we’re also happy to share with other countries what we have learned,” Kerlikowske said.
Officials in the US claimed that drug use has dropped significantly in the last 30 years, yet there are still more than 20 million Americans that need treatment to be able to recover from their addictions. As of today, only 4 million victims of drug abuse have access to treatment facilities and other programs that deal with their conditions.