The new plan outlines more than 100 specific actions involving screening, brief interventions and referral to treatment and the Affordable Care Act, "which will make drug treatment a required benefit from all that suffer from substance abuse," Kerlikowske noted.
Much of the new plan centered on new strategies for dealing with parole and probation violations related to drug use.
Currently, people on probation and parole have 16 or 17 violations before they receive sanctions, said Angela Hawken, an associate professor of economics and policy analysis at Pepperdine University's School of Public Policy in Los Angeles.
A new program in Hawaii has shown success in arresting parole violators immediately and sentencing them to short periods of jail time followed by mandatory drug testing, the officials noted.
"Drug use is down 80 to 90 percent over baseline, arrests are down and there is a large reduction in costly probation revocations," Hawken said.
The new administration plan also emphasizes community-based programs, such as drug-free communities and youth campaigns.
"Our goal is to reform the public health system so we can learn to recognize the signs of drug addiction and intervene appropriately before the justice system becomes involved," Kerlikowske said. "There's a real reason to be optimistic with these reform efforts."
Visit the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy for more on the new strategy.
SOURCES: April 17, 2012 press conference with: Gil Kerlikowske, director, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and Angela Hawken, Ph.D., associate professor, economics and policy analysis, S
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