the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
For Immediate Release

Statement by ONDCP Communications Director Rafael Lemaitre on White House Drug Policy Director's Visit to Guatemala

“Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy will travel to Guatemala June 21-22.  In Guatemala City, Director Kerlikowske will highlight steep declines in consumption and availability of cocaine in the United States and visit a local youth outreach and drug prevention program. Kerlikowske will also meet with high level Guatemalan officials including President Otto Fernando Pérez Molina.  Moredetails on the trip will be released once they are finalized.”

In April, President Obama released the 2012 National Drug Control Strategy, the Administration’s primary blueprint for drug policy in the United States.  The new Strategy supports a “third way” approach to drug policy, supporting alternatives to a law enforcement centric “war on drugs” or drug legalization.  The new drug policy strategy outlines 113 specific actions to be undertaken throughout the Federal Government to reform U.S. drug policy including actions to reform the criminal justice system by diverting non-violent drug offenders into treatment instead of incarceration, addressing substance use disorders through the healthcare system and youth outreach, and targeting violent transnational criminal organizations. 

The rate of overall drug use in the United States has declined by roughly 30 percent since 1979. Since 2006, there has been a 40 percent reduction in the rate of cocaine use and meth use has dropped by half.  To build on this progress and support public health approaches to drug control, the Obama Administration has requested over $10 billion for drug education programs and support for expanding access to drug treatment for people suffering from substance use disorders in FY 2013.  This will build upon the $30 billion already spent over the past three years on drug prevention and treatment.The United States estimates that approximately 15 percent of the primary flow of cocaine entering the United States transited Guatemala.