Just once in his life, at 19, David Sheff carried a trunk-load of marijuana from Berkeley to San Diego. On his way home, his trunk now empty, police pulled him over and searched his car. Ever since he's looked back "with abject horror at how much my life since then would have been different" if they'd stopped him sooner, he writes in Time—he could have gone to prison instead of finishing school. So he's pleased the Obama administration is finally easing up on the drug war. But it isn't doing nearly enough.
There's an opportunity to change that. Obama's drug czar—an ex-cop, naturally—is stepping aside. Obama should replace him with a medical professional "qualified to effectively address drug abuse and addiction for what they are—not criminal problems, but health problems," writes Sheff. This person could usher in harm reduction measures addressing addiction as the disease it is. "The new drug czar must be devoted to ending the failed war on drugs and declaring a new one. America's war on cancer has lowered deaths from the disease every year." Click for the full column. (Read more drug czar stories.)