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

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director April 11, 2013

    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 responses to “White House Drug Control Budget: Failed Drug War Tactics Prioritized Over Prevention and Treatment”

    1. Dan Richeson says:

      Oh, I see that even though this “land of liberty” has the highest per capita incarnation rate, the budget for Bureau of Prisons has gone UP! Even though a MAJORITY of people support an end of marijuana prohibition, they are going to “double down” on these failed policies. We REALLY need to learn from marijuana prohibition and perhaps apply it. Such as: lets prohibit education, that would end up making us the smartest people on the planet!

      Cmon folks, seems our elected reps aren’t getting the message, SEND THEM THE MESSAGE ALREADY! Go to MOMS FOR MARIJUANA they have a call in happening. See Declaration of Rights of Cannabis Users and mail your reps, there are other petitions to be signed also, STAND UP and let them know who’s BOSS. AND if you come across a prohibitionist give em a good hard KICK IN THE BUTT! No, Really

      Declaration of Rights of Cannabis Users

    2. g mammone says:

      Why has marijuana not been legalized in ohio? None of the younger smokers even know about norml in the canton, massillon area. They have never heard of you. What can we do to get it legalized in ohio. They are afraid to sign a petition because you have to be a legal voter which means possible jury duty. That’s a big no way for them. Please advise what can be done. I personally think as long as republican hold the reins in ohio legaling mj will never happen. Yor advise is greatly welcome. You can drink alcohol but not maryjane. Await your reply. Thanks.

      [Paul Armentano responds: You largely answered your own question. Marijuana law reform will only happen when a sufficient number of stakeholders get involved in the process of their own liberation. That means joining/donating to drug law reform groups like NORML and becoming politically active in the legislative and electoral process. By your own admission, many folks in your area refuse to do either.]

    3. xDSx says:

      I do not wish to fund this failed war anymore. I will not pay the prison system to get bigger. If this budget doesn’t piss you off then you clearly need to wake up and stop pissing in the wind!

    4. Solomon says:

      Obamas a liar. Nothin he says means shit

    5. MpR says:

      I guess there are to many jobs to be lost if the Communist gov. we live in would do what’s right. Think of all those police attorneys and judges that would have to do real work if the money was used in the right way. legalize , educate and control and manage…but that would make sense…our Government is really what is taking this country down…..PERIOD

    6. Warren Osborn says:

      What’s that Einstein famously said? “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting different results?”

    7. ace says:

      welcome to america. we love to take your freedom.

    8. Galileo Galilei says:

      “Regardless of how you try to explain to people it’s a ‘war on drugs’ or a ‘war on a product,’ people see a war as a war on them,” he said. “We’re not at war with people in this country.”
      — White House Drug Czre, Mr. Gil Kerlikowske

      The Land of the Free now has more people in jail than even the old Soviet Union. Sure looks like a damn war to me. Maybe that’s why Mr. Kerlikowske finds it so difficult to explain that it’s not.

      I agree with Obama that ‘Science and factual evidence’ should guide all of public policy including drug policy. Anything else sets us up for more failure, EXPENSIVE failure. ‘Science and factual evidence’ is not a just talking point. ‘Science and factual evidence’ tells us how the Universe works. It behooves us to recognize this fact, sooner rather than later.

    9. Cat Cassie says:

      What does this mean for Colorado and Washington? Is the hammer about to drop on us that voted to legalize it?

    10. Dick Justice says:

      no surprise here. the only recourse we have is to keep pushing legalization at the state level and force these scumbags to roll over.