U.S. Representative for Economic and Social Affairs Ambassador Rick Barton today stated that drug use in America has declined roughly 0 percent since 1979.
At the launch of the 2011 World Drug Report, Mr. Barton said President Obama’s inaugural Drug Control Strategy was released one year ago. He said it marked a departure from previous approaches to drug policy. He pointed out that the Strategy focuses on both the public health and public safety aspects of drug abuse and addiction.
“The United States government believes that a balanced program of reducing drug consumption and reducing the supply of drugs is essential to counter the damages caused by the illicit drug trade.” -Mr. Barton
Mr. Barton said the world is making progress on curbing the drug trade. He stated that cocaine production in Colombia is down by over 50 percent. He added the U.S. government has diverted 1.5 million people into drug treatment instead of jail through alternatives to incarceration since 1989.
Mr. Barton emphasized that the United States spends more on drug prevention and treatment for $10 billion dollars than domestic law enforcement ($9.2 billion).
“Our comprehensive approach to drug policy strengthens our focus on prevention, raises awareness of addiction as a disease, enhances support for those in recovery from addiction, and promotes smarter use of law enforcement resources.” -Mr. Barton
He said the United States strongly support alternatives to incarceration for drug addicts caught up in the criminal justice system. He highlighted that supervision in the community, through drug courts and monitoring of behavior through drug testing, combined with treatment and counseling services, produces better outcomes at lower cost than incarceration.