President Obama has been addressing the drug and alcohol problem that is wreaking havoc on our country. He has been working with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and appointed Michael Botticelli as the acting director. This is a big move because Botticelli used to suffer from an addiction to drugs and has been in long-term recovery. Although he has been sober for many years, he certainly understands the problems and stigma that addicts go through in their journey to get and stay clean. On Wednesday, he spoke about the revised drug control policy and included parts of his past throughout his speech.
“For far too long, having a substance abuse disorder was seen as a moral failure, a matter of weakness, rather than recognized as the disease,” explained Botticelli. The report that Botticelli was discussing went on to say that the government realized that simply arresting individuals and relying on the judicial system was not going to make a dent in the drug abuse problem on a national scale. By keeping the focus on arrests and prosecutions, the federal and state governments are losing a ton of money. In order to really make some headway, the focus needs to turn towards education and treating addiction as a medical problem.
The government, however, did not change their stance on marijuana. While multiple states are seeking to legalize the drug, the federal government is remaining firm on their position that marijuana is illegal. Botticelli points out that one of the biggest factors that we are up against is that more and more people are beginning to accept drugs. People are not viewing illegal drugs as harmful as they used to view them. A similar perception occurred for prescription drugs in the past, and the painkiller epidemic exploded throughout the country, shifting into the devastating heroin problem that many states now face.
The federal government pledged to continue to work with state governments in order to stop the growing number of people addicted to drugs in our country.