April 18th, 2009
09:45 AM ET
5 years ago

White House tries to combat drug demand with rehab

Legalizing marijuana is off the table, the White House says
Legalizing marijuana is off the table, the White House says

(CNN) – As President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon talk tough about cracking down on the deadly drug war, the United States is changing tactics in the battle against illegal narcotics at home.

The man Obama picked to be the new "drug czar," Gil Kerlikowske, has made it clear that the United States is going to do a better job of treating addicts to try to reduce the demand for narcotics.

Kerlikowske, 59, is a military veteran with 36 years of law enforcement experience. The drug czar oversees an agency that sets the country's drug-control strategy.

The White House and Congress want to see more drug courts, and increased funding for the program 250 percent in the spending bill signed in March.

It's a campaign pledge that the Obama administration thinks will give nonviolent offenders "a chance to serve their sentence, where appropriate, in the type of drug rehabilitation programs that have proven to work better than a prison term in changing bad behavior," according to the White House Web site.

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Filed under: Mexico • President Obama
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