White House drug czar signals shift in policy toward treatment, education initiatives

Prevention, early intervention, treatment and education are among the new initiatives Gil Kerlikowske, director of national drug control policy, announced yesterday during an event at Johns Hopkins Medical School, reports The Baltimore Sun.

Rather than continuing a heavy reliance on the criminal justice system, the drug czar indicated that the new policy supports the expansion of drug courts so that nonviolent offenders receive treatment rather than prison terms. It also places an emphasis on prevention programs at schools and early intervention by health care professionals. Starting in 2014, the Affordable Care Act will require health insurance plans sold on Health Insurance Exchanges to include services to address substance abuse.  

The new proposed budget by the Obama administration includes an additional $1.4 billion for drug treatment.

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