By Staff Writer
Nearly everyone agrees that cocaine addiction and other forms of chemical dependency are major problems in society. However, the best way to deal with these issues has been the topic of much debate, with some commentators suggesting that current federal government strategies take the wrong approach.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch recently pointed out that funding for the “War on Drugs” increased by 39 percent between 2002 and 2009. However, during this time, the number of substance abusers in the U.S. actually increased by 9 percent, rather than decreasing.
The news source compared current efforts to enforce the criminalization of drug use to law enforcement initiatives launched under prohibition, which resulted in rampant organized crime and addiction.
Given the fact that combating drug abuse eats up such a large portion of state and federal budgets, the authors of the article recommended changing course in the fight against addiction and focusing more on prevention.
Government strategies in the War on Drugs may be shifting in this direction. A 2005 study by the RAND Corporation showed that 29 percent of the federal drug enforcement budget went to prevention in 2003, compared to just 17 percent in 2000.