The White House

Office of the National Drug Control Policy

Statement from White House Drug Policy Director Kerlikowske on the Results of the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health

Washington, D.C. – Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy, released the following statement regarding the results of the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health:

“Drugs place enormous obstacles in the way of our work to raise healthy children, maintain strong families, support economic prosperity, and protect communities from crime. I am encouraged there were no significant increases in drug use over the past year. However, today’s survey also shows that drug use in America remains at unacceptable levels.

Since day one, the Obama Administration has been laser focused on applying sound, research-based drug policies geared toward protecting Americans from the public health and safety threats drugs pose. As someone who has spent their entire career in law enforcement, I know we cannot arrest our way out of the drug problem. That’s why our policies are now based upon the recognition that drug addiction is a disease that can be successfully prevented and treated. The tragic wreckage wrought by drug use can and should be prevented before it becomes a criminal justice or public health emergency. That is why all of us – parents, community groups, government, the private sector, and law enforcement – have a shared responsibility to understand the scope of our drug problem and act now to educate young people about the harms caused by drug use.

Smart law enforcement efforts will always play a vital role in combating drug related violence and crime. But the days of treating drug use as exclusively a law enforcement only issue are long gone.”

Key facts:

  • The rate of overall drug use in America has fallen by roughly one-third since 1979.
  • There were no statistically significant increases in the use of any illegal drugs over the past year (2009 - 2010).
  • However, over the past two years (2008-2010) the rate of marijuana use increased significantly, driving up overall rates of illicit drug use.
  • Between 2008 and 2010, there was also a 43 percent increase in illicit drug use among Hispanic boys and a 42 percent increase among African American teen girls.
  • In FY2011, the United States spent $10.4 billion on drug education and treatment compared to $9.2 billion on domestic law enforcement.

For more information on National efforts to reduce drug use and its consequences visit: www.WhiteHouse.gov/ONDCP