Drug Czar: We don’t care about problems, just numbers

So a survey of sheriff’s departments in 45 states found that most of them think meth is the biggest problem they’re facing.
The White House, however, is not particularly interested in adjusting their high-profile, expensive national campaign to demonize marijuana.

…the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy restated its stance that marijuana remains the nation’s most substantial drug problem. Federal estimates show there are 15 million marijuana users compared to the 1 million that might use meth.

Yep, better focus on those marijuana users. Wonkette puts it into perspective:

And that numbers thing? You know, there sure are a lot of jaywalkers compared to people who molest children…

So why is the Czar acting this way? Simple. Dealing with meth is messy and complex and it doesn’t help his numbers [and actually, the ONDCP would take the wrong approach with meth if they were more involved, but that’s a different post].
You see, back in the 90’s the DEA and ONDCP got failing grades by the GAO for their inability to show that they were actually accomplishing anything (because, of course, they weren’t). So the White House set a new goal for the ONDCP: reducing (by specific percentages) the number of illegal drug users in the United States.
Of course, to a lot of people, that sounds like a wonderful goal. But how do you actually accomplish a goal with such wording? Let’s say you wanted to help heroin addicts. Well, probably not a good idea — there aren’t that many of them, and it takes a lot of work to get them completely off drugs. Even if you’re successful with a lot of them, it would hardly register as far as a percent of drug users.
So where can you get huge numbers and get them to quit easily? Marijuana. It’s the one most people use, and it’s not even addictive, so quitting is no problem. All you have to do is demonize it and spread the propaganda, and promote drug testing, and you can get a whole lot of people who were just using it now and then for fun to stop. You won’t do a thing for people who really have a drug problem, but you’ll reach your percentage goals of reducing drug users in the U.S.
This has been driving the entire ONDCP’s agenda. Even including blocking medical marijuana (medical marijuana use counts as federal illicit drug use for the purpose of statistics).
An entire national policy based on demonizing people who are causing no harm, and ignoring people who need help. Is that what they call “compassionate conservatism”?

[Hat tip to Ben]

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