Every day, far too many Americans are hurt by alcohol and drug abuse. From diminished achievement in our schools, to greater risks on our roads and in our communities, to the heartache of lives cut tragically short, the consequences of substance abuse are profound. Yet, we also know that they are preventable. This month, we pay tribute to all those working to prevent substance abuse in our communities, and rededicate ourselves to building a safer, drug-free America.
Preventing drug use before it begins—particularly among young people—is the most cost-effective way to reduce drug use and its consequences. In fact, recent research has concluded that every dollar invested in school-based substance use prevention programs has the potential to save up to $18 in costs related to substance use disorders.
The President’s plan promotes the expansion of national and community-based programs that reach young people in schools, on college campuses, and in the workplace with tailored information to help them make healthy decisions about their future.
The Administration’s drug policy reflects this understanding by emphasizing prevention and access to treatment over incarceration, pursuing “smart on crime” rather than “tough on crime” approaches to drug related offenses, and providing support for early health interventions designed to break the cycle of drug use, crime, incarceration, and re-arrest.