The White House

Office of the National Drug Control Policy

Office of National Drug Control Policy Releases Northern Border Drug Control Strategy

New Strategy to Supplement Existing Obama Administration Initiatives Working to Reduce Demand for Drugs in the United States; Balance Drug Prevention, Treatment, and Law Enforcement Efforts

Washington, D.C. – Today, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy, released the Obama Administration’s first-ever National Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy.  The Strategy outlines new actions that seek to reduce the two-way flow of illicit drugs between the United States and Canada by increasing coordination among Federal, state, local, and tribal enforcement authorities, enhancing intelligence sharing between counterdrug agencies, and strengthening ongoing counterdrug partnerships and initiatives with the Government of Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). 

“Our shared border—which separates two friendly nations with a long history of social, cultural, and economic ties—demands a specific strategy to confront the unique threats presented by illegal drug trafficking,” said Director Kerlikowske.  “Drug use and its consequences are significant threats to the public health and safety of communities in both the United States and Canada.  As we work to emphasize drug prevention, treatment, and recovery initiatives in the United States, we must ensure that we also build and expand upon existing initiatives that work to protect public safety and health along our Northern border by disrupting drug trafficking.”

 “Disrupting the flow of illegal drugs across our borders is critical to our nation’s safety and security,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. “I look forward to continuing to work closely with our Canadian partners to strengthen security along the Northern border while facilitating legal travel and trade.”

Ecstasy and marijuana are common drug threats to the United States from Canada, while the United States remains the primary transit country for cocaine into Canada from South America. The National Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy provides an overview of current counterdrug efforts and identifies supporting actions aimed at disrupting this cross-border flow of illegal drugs.  Some key strategic objectives outlined in the Strategy include:

  • Enhancing coordination of intelligence collection among the U.S. Federal, state, local, tribal and Canadian law enforcement agencies with Northern border counternarcotics responsibilities.
  • Increasing the amount seized of illicit narcotics and drug proceeds crossing the Northern border by bolstering security at and between ports of entry.
  • Enhancing air and maritime domain awareness and response capabilities along the Northern Border.
  • Developing resources and providing training opportunities to tribal law enforcement agencies.
  • Targeting the financial infrastructure of Transnational Criminal Organizations and increasing judicial cooperation with the Government of Canada.

ONDCP is coordinating an unprecedented government-wide public health and safety approach to reduce drug use and its consequences in the United States.  In addition to the enforcement-focused actions in this Strategy, the Administration recognizes the important role prevention and treatment play in reducing the demand for drugs and creating healthier communities.  Overall drug use in the United States has dropped substantially over the past thirty years.  More recently, cocaine use has dropped by 40 percent, and meth use in America has been cut by half.  To build on this progress and support the public health approach to drug control outlined in the National Drug Control Strategy, the Obama Administration has committed over $10 billion to drug prevention programs and support for expanding access to drug treatment for people with substance use disorders.