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Drug Czar Has No Clue

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 16, 2008

    Granted, those of us who work in drug policy reform knew this already.

    Nonetheless, it’s doubly satisfying when a former longtime White House employee states the obvious.

    The Failure of the Office of National Drug Control Policy
    via Huffington Post

    As an insider in the nation’s war against drugs, I spent almost fifteen years in the executive office of the President. Eleven of these years were in the Office of National Drug Control Policy where I served four of the nation’s so-called drug czars preparing the federal drug control budget, writing many of the national drug control strategies, and conducting performance measurement and analysis of the efficacy of those strategies. I left government in 2000, but continue to be highly involved in shaping drug policies and measuring performance in drug policy both nationally and internationally.

    In the latest 2008 National Drug Control Strategy, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) — the federal executive office agency charged with shaping this nation’s national drug control strategy — claims that America has reached a turning point in the war on drugs. In reality, we have little reason to believe a significant change has occurred.

    … Though Congress created ONDCP to formulate research-driven and performance-based policy, assess and modify policy through performance measures, and give a precise accounting of the federal drug control budget, ONDCP fails at all of those tasks. In the 90’s ONDCP created a performance measurement system for evaluating the effects of its policies on drug use, drug availability, and the negative consequences of drug use; however, this decade, no such performance measurement system has been utilized. As a consequence, policy is now flying blind resulting in lost opportunities for more success.

    Naturally, the author ultimately fails to suggest any significant changes in US drug policy — such as legalizing cannabis for adults, or disbanding the DEA or the Drug Czar’s office — but, hey, it’s a start.

    5 Responses to “Drug Czar Has No Clue”

    1. Patricia says:

      I tried to post about Guzman’s cancer review on the HuffPo and it looks like it’s not passing the moderator. Even in a so-called progressive publication, this stuff gets censored. Sheesh.

    2. David says:

      Having a performance measurement system on the war on drugs is like checking the MPG on a car with all flat tires. This war was bound to fail from the very start. It’s no wonder the Drug Czar doesn’t have a system to measure progress: It would only serve as a reminder of the failure that this war is. It’s really quite sad. We spend billions of dollars per year trying to prevent people from burning a plant and inhaling the smoke, and meanwhile, people die in third world countries because they don’t have desperately needed food and supplies- all of which they could have if the United States funded those developing countries. Instead we use this money to arrest and imprison our own citizens. This war’s an utter failure.

    3. mark says:

      Congress needs to come up with a bill simlilar to “no child left behind”. Where, if the DEA fails to “demonstrate Yearly Progress” in controlling drug use, they lose funding. And after 3 years of no progress, they have to fire all agents and leaders.

      The DEA can then hold bake sales in order to purchase paper, pens, guns, jails, bullets, drug dogs and other items needed to preform their jobs.

    4. Just another victim says:

      I wonder if Georgie gets nervous around him as he remembers the ol Cocaine days?;)

      I agree with Mark. The unfortunate part is they have lost that war long ago but somehow think that we, as people, are too stupid to realize it. Our only chance is to wipe the slate and start over with a new government. It is the power of the people that we need right now.

    5. jason says:

      mark, dear frien don ya know dey be usin those siezed goodies to be makin dem brownies.. jus like da black tar carried down da ho chi min trail to be sold in da states only to arrest those who buy it.. do some diggin, jah will show you the connections between da war on drugs, vietnam, and nancy regan.

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