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Caption: David Onek and Gil Kerlikowske in studio.
David Onek and Gil Kerlikowske in studio. 

Gil Kerlikowske, White House Drug Czar

From: The Criminal Justice Conversations with David Onek
Length: 30:03

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In Episode #1, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (the White House "Drug Czar"), discusses ending the "War on Drugs," treating drugs as a public health issue, the problems of prescription drugs and drugged driving, the federal government's response to state medical marijuana laws, and more.

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KERLIKOWSKE INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

Kerlikowske on the War on Drugs: 
"The war metaphor just doesn't work, because this is not just a public safety or a criminal justice problem, it is also - very, very much so - a public health problem... Calling it a war makes no sense."

Kerlikowske on Drugs as a Public Health Issue: 
"The Obama Administration realizes and understands that addiction is a disease. And that isn't widely known. If you would have asked me ten years ago about addiction, I would have said it's an incredible moral failure and people should just get a backbone and straighten themselves up... You don't have to read a lot of the scientific journals and talk to a number of the researchers to clearly recognize and understand that addiction is diagnosable, it is a chronic disease, it is treatable." 

Kerlikowske on Prescription Drugs and Drugged Driving: 
"What people are not recognizing are two huge significant changes. One is prescription drugs. These aren't coming across the borders. These are coming out of  our own medicine cabinets, and more people are suffering from addiction and fatal overdoses through prescription drugs than through many other substances. The other is on drugged driving... I think these two issues - prescription drugs and drugged driving - are not getting anywhere near the attention that they should."

Piece Description

KERLIKOWSKE INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

Kerlikowske on the War on Drugs: 
"The war metaphor just doesn't work, because this is not just a public safety or a criminal justice problem, it is also - very, very much so - a public health problem... Calling it a war makes no sense."

Kerlikowske on Drugs as a Public Health Issue: 
"The Obama Administration realizes and understands that addiction is a disease. And that isn't widely known. If you would have asked me ten years ago about addiction, I would have said it's an incredible moral failure and people should just get a backbone and straighten themselves up... You don't have to read a lot of the scientific journals and talk to a number of the researchers to clearly recognize and understand that addiction is diagnosable, it is a chronic disease, it is treatable." 

Kerlikowske on Prescription Drugs and Drugged Driving: 
"What people are not recognizing are two huge significant changes. One is prescription drugs. These aren't coming across the borders. These are coming out of  our own medicine cabinets, and more people are suffering from addiction and fatal overdoses through prescription drugs than through many other substances. The other is on drugged driving... I think these two issues - prescription drugs and drugged driving - are not getting anywhere near the attention that they should."

Transcript

DAVID ONEK: Welcome to the Criminal Justice Conversations Podcast, a coproduction of the Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice and the Berkeley School of Journalism. I’m your host, David Onek. The podcast, recorded in the Berkeley School of Journalism studios, features in depth interviews with a wide range of criminal justice leaders: law enforcement officials, policy makers, advocates, service providers, academics and others. The podcast gets behind the sound bites that far too often dominate the public dialogue about criminal justice to have detailed nuanced conversations about criminal justice policy.

Today’s guest is Gil Kerlikowske, the Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, otherwise known as the “Drug Czar.” Kerlikowske has 37 years of law enforcement experience including stints as Police Chief in Seattle and Buffalo, and as Deputy Director of th...
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