Readout of White House Drug Policy Director’s Visit to San Antonio, Texas
(San Antonio, TX) – Today, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) visited San Antonio, Texas to discuss the Obama Administration’s emphasis on treatment and prevention as part of national efforts to reduce drug use and its consequences. During the visit, Kerlikowske visited Haven for Hope - a non-profit dedicated to transforming the lives of homeless men, women and children by addressing the root causes of homelessness through education, job training and behavioral health services. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, 60 percent of homeless people in San Antonio suffer from substance use and/or mental illness.
“We must treat our nation’s drug problem as a public health issue, not just a criminal justice issue,” said Kerlikowske. “Today, there are millions of Americans successfully in recovery for substance use disorders. Haven for Hope is a shining example of just how important it is to treat substance abuse as a public health issue,” said Gil Kerlikowske. “Too many people suffering from addiction aren’t able to receive adequate treatment and it’s refreshing to see programs and facilities that are focusing on the root of the problem and therefore preventing future substance abuse.”
“Haven for Hope is a model for the community based strategy put forward by the Administration in an effort to combat the root problem rather than the misguided perceptions of substance abuse.” said Congressman Gonzales. “I would like to thank Director Kerlikowske for his leadership and for shining a light on the example of Haven for Hope in the fight against homelessness and substance abuse.”
In April, the Obama Administration released the 2012 National Drug Control Strategy, the Obama Administration’s primary blueprint for drug policy in the United States. The new Strategy is guided by three facts: addiction is a disease that can be prevented and treated; people with substance use disorders can recover; and innovative new criminal justice reforms can stop the revolving door of drug use, crime, incarceration, release, and re-arrest.
The rate of overall drug use in the United States has declined by roughly 30 percent since 1979. More recently, there has been a nearly 40 percent reduction in the number of current cocaine users and the number of current meth users has dropped by half. To build on this progress and support the public health approach to drug control outlined in the Strategy, the Obama Administration has committed over $10 billion for drug education programs and support for expanding access to drug treatment for people suffering from substance use disorders in FY 2012.
For more information about the Office of National Drug Control Policy, visit: