In a discussion hosted on YouTube following the State of the Union address, President Barack Obama addressed drug and alcohol abuse as a public health problem. Not in favor of legalization, the President suggested combating the issue by changing people’s attitudes and exploring new ways to decrease demand for drugs.
“On drugs, I think a lot of times we’ve been so focused on arrests, incarceration, interdiction, that we don’t spend as much time thinking about how do we shrink demand,” Obama said. “We do have to go after drug cartels that are selling drugs, but also focus on the allocation of resources between law enforcement and health programs. In some cities, for example, it may take six months for you to get into a drug treatment program.”
As a nonprofit that works to help parents prevent, intervene in and find treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, we are heartened by President Obama’s response and the opportunity to shed light on substance abuse and addiction, a serious but preventable disease.
Through experience, we’ve learned that some of the most innovative and effective approaches to dealing with teen drug and alcohol addiction, a disease rooted in adolescence, begin with parents. By creating online resources for families and a peer-to-peer community at drugfree.org, as well as working with parents, health care professionals and law enforcement via our community education programs, our goal is to change attitudes and erase the stigma associated with drugs and alcohol and help the millions of families who are struggling with addiction.