Obama Drug Policy: No Surprises, Lots of Alarms


Over at Cato-at-Liberty, David Boaz expresses disappointment if not quite surprise that the Obama administration has not heeded his advice in formulating its shiny new drug policy. Excerpt:

It involves more central planning — "the creation of a community-based national prevention system" – more taxpayers' money — "an expanded array of intervention-oriented treatment programs" — and more nannyism — "a push to screen patients early for signs of substance abuse, even during routine appointments, and the expansion of prescription-drug monitoring programs." And don't forget the ever-popular, ever-futile "more international cooperation in disrupting the flow of drugs and money."

As it happens, I had a chance to meet with drug czar Gil Kerlikowske and his top aides last year, as part of a series of outreach meetings as the new team planned its strategy. It doesn't look like my advice was taken. Of course, I probably didn't help my case by noting that our last three presidents have acknowledged using illegal drugs, and it is just incomprehensible to me how they can morally justify arresting other people for doing the same thing they did. Do they think that they would have been better off if they had been arrested and incarcerated for their youthful drug use? Do they think the country would have been better off if they had been arrested and incarcerated? If not, how do they justify punishing others? […]

I must admit, though, that the other think tank analysts at the meeting, both liberal and conservative, offered the sorts of proposals for more social workers and more transition programs and more doctors that seem to have ended up in the "new" proposal. Perhaps I should have come up with a couple of proposals that would have cost more money rather than less.

Whole thing, including Cato's eminently sensible policy recommendations, here. I wrote about Obama's drug hypocrisy a few days back. Boaz's Reason archive here.