Obama’s Nat’l Drug Control Strategy Says Borders ‘Must Be Secured,’ But Plan Focuses on Prevention and Treatment

By Penny Starr | May 11, 2010 | 6:01 PM EDT

President Barack Obama released his administration's drug control plan on Monday. In announcing the plan, Obama emphasized prevention and treatment, but the 126-page strategy report includes statements about the need to secure the nation's borders to protect its citizens from dangerous drug cartels that are streaming across the border and operating in dozens of U.S. cities. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – In the newly released 2010 National Drug Control Strategy, the Obama administration says that protecting America’s borders is a primary responsibility of federal agencies, that the borders “must be secured,” and that succeeding in that goal will require a “close partnership” with state and local law enforcement personnel.

In announcing the strategy, however, President Barack Obama did not mention securing U.S. borders or cooperating with state and local officials to meet the stated goal. Instead, he emphasized prevention and treatment.
Chapter 5 of the 126-page report -- entitled “Disrupting Drug Trafficking and Production -- falls under the subtitle “United States Borders Must Be Secured.”
“Protecting America’s borders is a primary responsibility of Federal agencies, but it also requires a close partnership with State, local, and tribal authorities,” the strategy report states.  

It notes that drug-trafficking organizations now operate throughout the continental United States, moving illegal drugs, money and weapons through local communities. “This massive network of trafficker operatives moving across our national borders has created a serious threat to the safety of the American public,” the strategy report says. 
Drug traffickers "have built a national web of stash houses; organizational cells specializing in drugs, guns, and money; and a virtual army of couriers with vehicles and advanced communications and logistics,” the report says, adding that the drug trade "contributes to violence, kidnappings, robberies, and other crimes throughout the country, but especially in border areas.”

It warns that the drug trafficking network "could also be exploited by terrorist organizations."

“Federal agencies have unique authorities and capabilities that must be applied to the serious threat to our Nation’s borders posed by violent drug-trafficking organizations,” the report says.
The federal government's Southwest Border Strategy “directs federal agencies to increase coordination and information sharing with state and local law enforcement agencies, intensifies national efforts to interdict the south-bound flow of weapons and bulk currency, and calls for continued close collaboration with the government of Mexico in their efforts against the drug cartels.”
President Obama said the five-year plan was developed following a cross-country “listening tour” by National Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske.
“This strategy calls for a balanced approach to confronting the complex challenge of drug use and its consequences,” Obama said in a statement issued on Monday. “By boosting community-based prevention, expanding treatment, strengthening law enforcement, and working collaboratively with our global partners, we will reduce drug use and the great damage it causes in our communities.”
The 2010 Strategy emphasizes community-based 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, according to the White House press release announcing the strategy.   

Obama's National Drug Control Strategy sets out the following goals to be attained by 2015:

Goal 1: Curtail illicit drug consumption in America
-- Decrease the 30-day prevalence of drug use among 12–17 year olds by 15%
-- Decrease the lifetime prevalence of 8th graders who have used drugs, alcohol, or tobacco by 15%
-- Decrease the 30-day prevalence of drug use among young adults aged 18–25 by 10%
-- Reduce the number of chronic drug users by 15%

Goal 2: Improve public health and safety by reducing the consequences of drug abuse
-- Reduce drug-induced deaths by 15%
-- Reduce drug-related morbidity by 15%
-- Reduce the prevalence of drugged driving by 10%

The Obama administration has denounced a new state law in Arizona giving state and local law enforcement the authority to enforce federal immigration law by making it a state crime to be in the United States illegally.  Attorneys for the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice have said they are “reviewing” the law to see if it should be challenged before it takes effect this summer.
A spokesman for Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) – who along with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has introduced a 10-point plan to secure the Southwest border, including deploying the National Guard – told CNSNews.com that Kyl agrees that securing the border is a federal responsibility and that the Obama administration should fulfill its federal obligation to stop those who are illegally trafficking drugs into the United States.