White House Drug Control Budget: Failed Drug War Tactics Prioritized Over Prevention and Treatment

The Obama Administration has released its National Drug Control Budget for the FY 2014 and despite their claims that “the war on drugs is over” and that they have “bigger fish to fry” the Office National Drug Control Policy is still prioritizing failed drug war tactics over prevention and treatment.

The new budget calls for 9.6 billion dollars to be spent on domestic law enforcement, 3.7 billion for interdiction, and 1.4 billion for international drug control efforts.

Prevention, in the form of education and outreach efforts, receives a paltry $1.4 billion dollars. While this is a 5% increase over the previous year’s budget, it is still a minuscule sum when you consider we are spending nine times more on arresting people than we are to educate them on risks of drug use and stop them from ending up in the criminal justice system in the first place. The budget calls for an additional 9.3 billion to be spent on treatment programs for those considered to have drug abuse issues (though $80 million of this funding goes to the drug court program, infamous for giving defendants the “choice” of serving time in rehab or spending time in a jail cell).

For all their rhetoric, this recent budget shows that little has changed in the federal government’s priorities when it comes to the War on Drugs. Funding is still disproportionately spent arresting people or diverting them into treatment programs after the fact, while only a small fraction (13%) of the overall drug budget is spent trying to fix the problem before it starts.

It is time for the Obama Administration’s policy to match its language on the issue of drug law reform. President Obama once promised that he would allow science and factual evidence to guide his administration on issues of public policy, but when it comes to marijuana laws, we are still waiting for him to deliver.

You can view the full text of the budget here.

60 thoughts

  1. @ Anonymous says:
    April 17, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    I completely agree!
    We must demonstrate utmost credibility in
    matters of word-usage and conveyance of ideas
    in order to be taken SERIOUSLY!!!
    (and not dismissed nor laughed-off by staunch
    MJ prohibitionists and so-called “drug-warriors”).

    In this age of built-in online spell-checkers,
    (own web-browser underlines misspelled words),
    there’s little excuse for anyone to be publishing
    typos, misspellings, et. al, in their blog-comments…

  2. Marijuana will be legal in the future. There’s no stopping it. Unfortunately, In my home state of WI, the cops remain dedicated to destroying as many innocent lives as possible until marijuana becomes legal. 🙁 Cmon WI! You’re breaking my heart.

  3. Government Greed will eventually call for full Legalization. It won’t be long Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms will add Marijuana to their Banner.

  4. @ TIGUY, except marijuana doesn’t belong in a group with “Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms”. This whole idea that marijuana is as “dangerous” as smoking tobacco or getting drunk and having random sex with someone you don’t even know is completely false! It is nutty. Off kilter, unbalanced, plain out stupid. And just another way to keep the war on pot going, just less overt.

    The only national policy “we need” is that it is illegal to jail someone for selling, growing “what morons call manufacturing”, or possessing marijuana and/or hemp. The chemicals in said plants are no longer sheduled as narcotics (as they are not narcotics and never were by any measure). It is it. We don’t need a 47 page document–it just isn’t that complicated or even important to the governments’ mission/job.

  5. Obama knows that cannabis is not a drug, I do not believe this budget reflects Cannabis enforcement, especially since states are emancipating the cannabis.

  6. I agree. I do not think Cannabis is a priority on the Federal level. Getting out from under regulating “marijuana” at all is a priority.
    Left wing over reaction is equally as harmful as right wing miss direction.

  7. I agree. I do not think cannabis is a priority with congress. I do think that getting out from under regulating “marijuana” at all is a priority.

  8. Narcotic means mind altering substance, I.e. caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, OTC medication. So yes marijuana (thc) is a narcotic. But that is besides the point, what really matters is to regulate it for what it is. A medical and recreation product that can both negitively and positively effect someone’s life. Only being available for mature and responsible adults. Smoking marijuana can be as hazordous as all of what you mentioned; Random sex, alcohol, or tobacco can be used responsibly or in most cases irreasonibly. Knowing your limit, wearing protection, and educating yourself about any activity you do is the best way to keep your checks and balances. Sorry for the rant but saying something is bad because you don’t want to have something else catagorized in the same area is just shielding the truth. Sure you could say, “well how many people do you know that died from marijuana poisoning?” Seeing in how you already know the asnwer is none. What I would have to reply with is,” no one has died from but life’s have been ruined by the lack of motivation in weaker minded individuals that use marijauna as a cruch. They are also inhaling smoke which by default is bad for you.” Regulate, tax, educate marijuana; gain the benifits from this and make our country stronger.

  9. I am a medical marijuana patient. I suffer chronic pain 24/7. Medical marijuana laws have been passed in my state. The state has strict requirements, including giving back to the community. In fact, it is taxed. Other states have been looking at Maine’s laws so they can implement their own laws. This is what we call medicine and I have a prescription. It is better than oxycontin which can cause more damage like alcohol.

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