Pubdate: Wed, 10 Jan 2001
Source: Blade, The (OH)
Copyright: 2001 The Blade
Contact:  541 North Superior St., Toledo OH 43660


President-elect George W. Bush has an opportunity to reconcile the nation 
and set a new course for the next century. Whether he will take the helm 
and alter this nation's drug policy toward a more effective, humane, and 
intelligent path remains to be seen.

Among the appointed offices will be the head of the Office of National Drug 
Control Policy. Mr. Bush should consider appointing someone with a 
doctorate in medicine rather than a sound military record to head that office.

Drug addiction is a problem best dealt with by physicians, not police or 
militarized anti-narcotics forces. Our military was meant to fight wars - 
not drug addiction.

The best the last head of the ONDCP, Ret. Gen. Barry McCaffrey could do was 
a $1.3 billion plan to "eradicate" coca crops and train military personal 
in a country where figuring out who the bad guys are and who the good guys 
are is extremely difficult if not impossible. An illegal media campaign 
sought to influence the content of popular television shows, as well as 
newspaper and magazine content.

Mr. McCaffrey could talk the talk, but the division and disbursement of the 
$17 billion budget was two-thirds law enforcement and one-third for 
treatment, education, and harm reduction programs.

It's time for a director who can walk the walk when it comes to addressing 
this country's drug problem. Not just someone willing to tow the party line 
and regurgitate the same old rhetoric, but someone with a background in 
medicine, social services, and education. Because what this country needs 
is a lot less politicking, and a lot more critical thinking and assessment, 
if we're to get anywhere on reducing drug abuse and addiction.

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