White House Drug Policy Director Outlines Strategies to Reduce Rising Threat from Methamphetamine and Prescription Drug Diversion and Abuse
San Diego, CA. – Today, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), presented the Obama Administration’s National Drug Control Strategy at the National Methamphetamine Pharmaceuticals Initiative (NMPI) annual conference in San Diego, California. Director Kerlikowske was joined by William Blair, President of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police/Toronto Police Chief, and experts in methamphetamine and pharmaceutical diversion, including participants from Canada, Mexico, and other countries.
The Administration’s inaugural National Drug Control Strategy establishes five-year goals for reducing drug use and its consequences through a balanced policy of prevention, treatment, enforcement, and international cooperation, including efforts to reduce methamphetamine production and trafficking and prevent and treat methamphetamine and prescription drug abuse.
In remarks to some 440 participants, Director Kerlikowske thanked State and local law enforcement officials, as well as the Drug Enforcement Administration, for their tireless work to address the threat from methamphetamine and the growing problem of pharmaceutical abuse and diversion. Concerned about the rising number of methamphetamine labs and the practice of “smurfing” (the diversion of retail sales of pseudoephedrine to manufacture meth), he also cited efforts in Oregon, Mississippi, and Missouri to reduce smurfing by making pseudoephedrine available only by prescription, but cautioned there was more work ahead for State, local, and Federal agencies.
“The scope of our country’s drug problem is disturbingly clear; drug overdoses are fast approaching car crashes as the leading cause of accidental death,.” said Director Kerlikowske. “We also know that nearly one out of every 40 people in the United States meet the diagnostic criteria for illicit drug abuse or dependence, and that prescription drug abuse is the country’s fastest-growing problem. Through a multi-disciplinary approach that includes healthcare providers, law enforcement, and community engagement, we can reverse these trends and improve public health and safety.”
The 2010 National Drug Control Strategy, released last week by President Obama, provides a framework for our anti-drug efforts, and emphasizes community-based prevention, integration of evidence-based treatment into the mainstream healthcare system, innovations in the criminal justice system to break the cycle of drug use and crime, and international partnerships to disrupt transnational drug trafficking organizations. The Obama Administration explicitly opposes efforts to legalize or decriminalize drugs.
NMPI, an ONDCP-sponsored initiative, works to provide State and local officials with the tools they need to address these urgent problems. The three-day meeting brings together law enforcement officials to address methamphetamine issues and pharmaceutical diversion through strategy development, intelligence sharing, legislative initiatives, and training on best practices.
The 2010 National Drug Control Strategy and information about the Office of National Drug Control Policy is available at www.WhiteHouseDrugPolicy.gov.