President Obama has released the administration’s 2011 National Drug Control Strategy, which coordinates an unprecedented government-wide public health and safety approach to reduce drug use and its consequences in the United States. The Administration’s new Strategy features Milwaukee’s Safe & Sound program, a partnership between law enforcement agencies, local residents and young people to prevent youth gang activity, crime and drug use.
Safe & Sound is a partnership of law enforcement, prosecutors, youth-serving organizations, elected and civic leaders, businesses, city services, and clergy aimed at reducing drug use and crime and rebuilding neighborhoods. The project organizes local residents and youth and connects them with these groups to identify and report criminal activity and prevent youth gang affiliation, crime, and drug use.
“This program is a unique, effective, and shining example of how community efforts can reduce drug use and its consequences,” said Gil Kerlikowske, White House Director of National Drug Control Policy. “Safe and Sound is an example of a local community taking action and addressing this issue head on. Drug use and its consequences strain our economy, our health care and criminal justice systems, and harm the well-being of young people, service members, and America’s workforce.”
“Safe & Sound empowers both adults and youth residents, supporting them in creating strategies to reduce drug use and drug-related crime,” said Barbara Notestein, Executive Director of Safe & Sound. “In partnership with law enforcement, residents have the ability to stabilize their neighborhoods and rebuild them, making them safe places to live, work and raise a family.”
After-school Safe Places for youth operate during the hours when youth are most apt to either commit, or be victims of, crime. Engaging more than 20,000 young people every year, the Safe Places involve them in youth-led crime reduction and neighborhood improvement projects, drug and alcohol prevention activities in addition to gang resistance and violence prevention efforts. Programs offered include structured activities to help youth develop personal and social skills through interactive forms of learning. Safe & Sound Community Partners are community organizers who contact residents in high-crime neighborhoods door-to-door year round, listening to, and addressing, the individual concerns of residents.
The Administration’s new Strategy continues to expand upon a balanced approach to drug control that emphasizes community-based drug prevention, integration of drug treatment into the mainstream health care system, innovations in the criminal justice system to break the cycle of drug use and crime, and international partnerships to disrupt transnational drug trafficking organizations.
Overall drug use in the United States has dropped substantially over the past thirty years. In response to comprehensive efforts to address drug use at the local, state, Federal, and international levels, the number of Americans using illicit drugs today is roughly half the rate it was in the late 70s. More recently, there has been a 46 percent drop in current cocaine use among young adults (age 18 to 25 years) over the past five years, and a 68 percent drop in the rate of people testing positive for cocaine in the workplace since 2006. To build on this progress and support a public health approach to drug control outlined in the Strategy, the Obama Administration has committed over $10 billion drug education programs and support for expanding access to drug treatment for addicts.
For a full copy of the 2011 National Drug Control Strategy, click here.
For more information on national efforts to reduce drug use and its consequences visitwww.WhiteHouseDrugPolicy.gov