DEA Chief Pushing Education

DEA Chief Pushing Education
Posted by FoM on December 07, 2001 at 10:08:37 PT
By Tony Bridges, Democrat Staff Writer
Source: Tallahassee Democrat
The head of the Drug Enforcement Administration said Thursday he favors more drug prevention education and broader treatment options for addicts."That's something we're pushing nationally," said Asa Hutchinson, standing outside the DEA's northeast Tallahassee office. "I really believe that Florida is representing itself across the nation as a model of drug prevention."
Hutchinson was in Florida to attend the "Prevention First" conference in Orlando, where he delivered the keynote address. Afterward, he traveled to the state's capital to meet with Gov. Jeb Bush to discuss Florida's drug policy.Bush has long been a proponent of balancing law enforcement response to the drug problem with public health solutions. Since becoming governor, he's launched a four-pillar strategy - education, prevention, treatment and enforcement - aimed at lowering Florida's number of drug users from 8 percent of the population to 4 percent.His approach exemplifies a major shift in drug control, away from the so-called "war on drugs" that was marked through the '80s and early '90s by heavy police action and stiff penalties for drug users and dealers. Bush, along with key law enforcement leaders across the country, acknowledged that simply trying to police the drug problem out of existence wasn't working.In Tallahassee, Police Chief Walt McNeil began plans for a community court that would funnel drug offenders into treatment and job training programs, rather than jail. McNeil and top police brass planned to pay for the program with a federal grant from the Department of Health and Human Services, but didn't receive approval this year.Hutchinson, a former U.S. attorney and Arkansas congressman, took over the DEA in August and has been struggling with an agency strained for resources since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He's the first DEA chief to visit the Tallahassee office.He said Thursday that he and Bush discussed the emerging threat of synthetic drugs such as Ecstasy and prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin. He said state and federal leaders were slow to educate the public about the dangers of these drugs, which have been linked to brain damage and even death in abusers.He also had praise for Florida's system of drug courts, similar to McNeil's planned community court, that offer treatment alternatives for addicts. Like his younger brother, President Bush has made both education and treatment programs key elements of his drug control plan, Hutchinson said."We need to move quicker on the education front," he said. "And treatment is a very important part of the equation."That's why Tallahassee police still are looking for a way to finance the community court, said TPD chief planner Greg Frost."I still think this is something this community would be very well served by," he said. "We're not going to give up."For the typical street-level drug user, we need to make sure we combine treatment with criminal justice sanctions, or the revolving door continues. And that's pretty much what we've got now."Source: Tallahassee Democrat (FL)Author: Tony Bridges, Democrat Staff WriterPublished: Friday, December 7, 2001 Copyright: 2001 Tallahassee DemocratContact: tdedit taldem.comWebsite: DEA Archives
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Comment #2 posted by troll420 on December 08, 2001 at 00:12:23 PT
One Wall At A Time
All in due time the insanity will end. I just wish it was sooner than later
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Comment #1 posted by Dark Star on December 07, 2001 at 12:40:32 PT
There is a new WWW site of interest: is mainly formed of FAQ's. You may notice that the corresponding "cons" have been notably few in number. That is the nature of the "debate." The propagandist antis make soundbites for the press, but virtually never engage in actual exchanges with anyone who knows whereof they speak. The mismatch would be too embarassing. 
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