Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Seattle police chief tapped as 'Drug Czar'

Rumors last month that Rep. Jim Ramstad was headed for the post of 'Drug Czar' proved unfounded, as Pres. Obama has reportedly nominated Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske for the post, instead.  Kerlikowske has earned generally positive reviews, but it's too early to say, if he's confirmed by the Senate, what he's likely to do as top commander of the 'war on drugs.'  Obama is on record that this 'war' has been a colossal failure.  There's grounds for hope that Kerlikowski will redirect the mission of this cabinet-level office more toward treatment, prevention, and a public health approach, rather than the nightstick-and-prison medicine that has prevailed.  For an eloquent statement advocating such a change in mission, read Victor Capoccia's op-ed in the Baltimore press, here.  Capoccia is head of the Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap initiative.  

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