Drugs Czar Calls for End to 'War on Drugs'

Change in terminology signals shift in drug policy towards treatment instead of jail
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2009 4:06 AM CDT
Former Seattle Police Chief R. Gil Kerlikowske, has been confirmed as head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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(Newser) – The Obama administration's newly confirmed drug czar wants to ditch the term "War on Drugs," the Wall Street Journal reports. The combative term is a barrier to dealing with the issue properly, said Gil Kerlikowske, highlighting the administration's plans to deal with drug abuse as a public health issue and focus on treatment instead of incarceration.

"Regardless of how you try to explain to people it's a 'war on drugs' or a 'war on a product,' people see a war as a war on them," said Kerlikowske, formerly Seattle's chief of police. "We're not at war with people in this country." Kerlikowske said that while he doesn't support the legalization of drugs, he supports efforts such as needle-exchange programs.