Obama: ‘Drug addiction is a health problem, not a criminal problem’

Obama: ‘Drug addiction is a health problem, not a criminal problem’

[Ed. – Oversimplify much?]

Barack Obama committed Tuesday to take on America’s growing heroin and prescription opioid epidemic by devoting resources to prevention and treatment, rather than to the “war on drugs” policies of the last few decades.

“For too long we’ve viewed drug addiction through the lens of criminal justice,” Obama said at a conference in Atlanta. “The most important thing to do is reduce demand. And the only way to do that is to provide treatment – to see it as a public health problem and not a criminal problem.”

The president said he hoped his participation in the panel – part of the “National Prescription Drug Abuse Heroin Summit” this week – would draw attention to the shift in approach, exemplified by a series of efforts aiming $116m at treatment that the administration laid outearlier in the day.

“When I show up, usually cameras do too,” Obama said. “My hope is that it provides a greater spotlight to help solve this problem.”

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