US ends ‘war on drugs’

THE United States has “ended its war on drugs” and is now moving its focus to prevention and treatment, the US drugs chief has told top Irish drug officials.

President Barack Obama’s drugs adviser Gil Kerlikowske held a series of meetings yesterday with Drugs Minister Pat Carey, Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy and Department of Justice secretary general Sean Aylward.

The former police chief said the US had formally ended its much heralded – and hugely expensive – “war on drugs”.

“We’ve talked about a ‘war on drugs’ for 40 years, since President Nixon. I ended the war,” said Mr Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

The Obama administration is increasing its budget for demand reduction by 6.5%, bringing it to $5.6 billion (€4.5bn). But the US is still spending $15.5bn on supply reduction.

Mr Kerlikowske said internationally, the US was focusing less on crop eradication in Afghanistan and Columbia.

He said the aim in Afghanistan was now on encouraging farmers to grow alternative crops.

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