The Obama administration’s 2011 strategy to reduce drug abuse and its consequences follows the 2010 strategy in its focus on the public health aspects of the issue. It recommits to the previous year’s target of reducing drug use by 15 percent over five years, and identifies abuse of prescription drugs as the fastest-growing problem.
An excerpt from the introduction:
The Obama Administration’s approach to the drug problem is borne out of the recognition that drug use is a major public health threat, and that drug addiction is a preventable and treatable disease. Whether struggling with an addiction, worrying about a loved one’s substance abuse, or being a victim of drugrelated crime, millions of people in this country live with the devastating consequences of illicit drug use. Overall, the economic impact of illicit drug use on American society totaled more than $193 billion in 2007, the most recent year for which data are available. Drug-induced deaths now outnumber gunshot deaths in America, and in 17 states and Washington, D.C., they now exceed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of injury death.
Despite significant gains over the past decade, recent survey results have shown troubling increases in drug use in America. Young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 have the highest rates of current drug use at nearly 20 percent. Each day, an estimated 4,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 use drugs for the first time. Additionally, more high school seniors now use marijuana than tobacco, and non-medical use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs remains unacceptably high, accounting for 6 of the top 10 substances used by 12th graders in the year prior to the survey.
Read the full strategy here (pdf).