President Obama releases national strategy to reduce drug use and its consequences

18 May 2010

Office of the Press Secretary
May 11, 2010

New Balanced and Collaborative Approach Emphasises Prevention, Treatment, Enforcement, International Cooperation

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Obama released the Administration’s inaugural National Drug Control Strategy, which establishes five-year goals for reducing drug use and its consequences through a balanced policy of prevention, treatment, enforcement, and international cooperation. The Strategy was developed by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) with input from a variety of Federal, State, and local partners.

“This Strategy calls for a balanced approach to confronting the complex challenge of drug use and its consequences,” said President Obama. “By boosting community-based prevention, expanding treatment, strengthening law enforcement, and working collaboratively with our global partners, we will reduce drug use and the great damage it causes in our communities. I am confident that when we take the steps outlined in this Strategy, we will make our country stronger and our people healthier and safer.”

The 2010 Strategy highlights a collaborative and balanced approach that emphasises community-based prevention, integration of evidence-based treatment into the mainstream health care system, innovations in the criminal justice system to break the cycle of drug use and crime, and international partnerships to disrupt transnational drug trafficking organisations.

During a nationwide listening tour soliciting input for the development of the Strategy, National Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske met with police and medical professionals, drug treatment providers and people in recovery, elected officials, corrections officials, academics, parents groups, faith leaders, and others. Throughout the consultation process, significant themes emerged which connect the drug issue to major Administration policy priorities, including the economy, health care reform, youth development, public safety, military and veterans’ issues, and foreign relations.

“In following President Obama’s charge to seek a broad range of input in the Strategy, I gained a renewed appreciation of how deeply concerned Americans are about drug use,” said Director Kerlikowske. “It touches virtually all of us, whether we know a family member, a friend, or a colleague who suffers from addiction or is in recovery, a police officer working to protect the community, or a parent striving to keep a child drug free,” said Director Kerlikowske.

The 2010 Strategy establishes five-year goals to reduce drug use and its consequences, including:

  • Reduce the rate of youth drug use by 15 percent;
  • Decrease drug use among young adults by 10 percent;
  • Reduce the number of chronic drug users by 15 percent;
  • Reduce the incidence of drug-induced deaths by 15 percent; and
  • Reduce the prevalence of drugged driving by 10 percent.

In addition, the Strategy outlines three significant drug challenges on which the Administration will specifically focus this year: prescription drug abuse, drugged driving, and preventing drug use. Prescription drug abuse is the Nation’s fastest growing drug problem, driving significant increases of drug overdoses in recent years. Drugged driving poses threats to public safety, as evidenced by a recent roadside survey which found that one in six drivers on weekend nights tested positive for the presence of drugs. Preventing drug use before it starts is the best way to keep America’s youth drug-free. In addressing each of these issues, the Strategy outlines a research-driven, evidence-based, and collaborative approach.

New Strategy elements also include a focus on making recovery possible for every American addicted to drugs through an expansion of community addiction centers and the development of new medications and evidence-based treatments for addiction. Continued support for law enforcement, the criminal justice system, disrupting domestic drug traffic and production, working with partners to reduce global drug trade, and innovative community-based programmes, such as drug courts, play a critical role in reducing American drug use and its effects.

For more information about the 2010 National Drug Control Strategy, watch a video message from R. Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy, or visit