White House Releases Updated National Drug Control Strategy

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The Bush Administration continues to focus on three main areas of drug prevention, rehabilitation and law enforcement.

This past week the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released President Bush’s strategy, which was preceded by the budget proposal for the upcoming year. This year’s proposal seeks substantial increases in funding for student drug testing in schools, drug court programs and the Access to Recovery program.

The ONDCP strategy includes three main areas of focus, including prevention, treatment and law enforcement. Domestic law enforcement accounts for 27% of the overall budget, and there is also hundreds of millions of dollars for supply reduction through the Department of State and the Drug Enforcement Administration for efforts such as cutting off the opium poppy supply in Afghanistan and parts of Asia.

For many, the disbursement of funds to reduce the supply of illicit drugs seems moot if the demand for the toxins is not cut within our own borders. In recent years, the White House has become more cognizant of this and has given more financial energy into the demand reduction efforts of the DEA, Drug-Free Communities support programs and prevention grants through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

While some groups have been disappointed that programs such as the Safe and Drug-Free Schools have been cut, the direction of the White House has helped to reduce overall teenage drug use by 17 percent in the last three years. The backbone of the combined effort of reducing drug use in the United States are organizations such as Narconon Arrowhead, which is one of the nation’s largest and most successful drug rehabilitation and education programs.

Narconon Arrowhead, which uses the effective drug rehabilitation methodology developed by American author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard, works with countless other groups to prevent drug use among students, successfully rehabilitated addicts, offer education and solutions to members of the addiction treatment field and helps to train professionals to get more programs started throughout the world.

A budget of $150 million for President Bush’s Access to Recovery program has been proposed to help individuals get into effective treatment programs such as Narconon Arrowhead by providing more choices for them.

The ONDCP is also increasing funding for school-based drug testing to total more than $25 million. This topic continues to raise controversy over whether or not the action infringes on students’ rights, but it has shown to be part of a successful prevention plan when combined with effective education and awareness programs.

The last area that saw a substantial proposed budget increase was drug courts. A study conducted by the National Institute of Justice showed that after two years the re-arrest rate for drug court graduates was less than half compared to offenders who did not attend a drug court program (27.5 percent compared to 58.6 percent). Today there are more than 1,600 drug courts in operation in all 50 states. The number of drug courts grew by more than 400 over the previous year and with $70 million (an increase of $30 million) should continue the trend.

In a country where the overall damage caused by drugs is more than the gross domestic product of over 200 other nations, setting the drug control strategy is not an envious job and will undoubtedly always have critics. In recent years it seems the United States has been making headway and could be going in the right direction.

To view the entire drug control strategy visit http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov. For more information on drugs and addiction or to get help for a loved one in need contact Narconon Arrowhead today at 1-800-468-6933 or log on to http://www.stopaddiction.com.

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Luke Catton