Washington, DC (March 11, 2009) – Vice President Biden announced today that President Obama
will nominate Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske as the new Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
"Gil Kerlikowske is recognized both nationally and internationally
for his innovative leadership and law enforcement solutions. He brings a lifetime of experience working on drug policy issues.
He has worked on the issue at all levels – from the Department of Justice to the front lines as a major city chief.
He understands that combating drugs requires a comprehensive approach that includes enforcement, prevention and treatment,"
said Vice President Biden.
That would be very good, if it was true that Chief Kerlikowske had wide experience on drug policy issues. Unfortunately,
his experience is almost entirely in the area of arresting people for possessing or trafficking in illegal drugs. There is
nothing in his background to suggest that he has any grasp of the larger issues of drug policy or of the realities that underlie
America's very large drug abuse problem.
"Gil Kerlikowske has the expertise, the experience, and the sound judgment to lead our national efforts against drug trafficking
and use, and he will make an excellent addition to my Administration," said President Obama. That too would be true IF
what was needed was a law enforcement approach aimed at combatting trafficking and use. What America really needs in the way
of drug policy, however, is one focused on prevention and control of drug ABUSE. The failure to distinguish use from abuse and to focus prevention on abuse has consistently led to the failure of America's drug policies.