Barack Obama: 'Drug Addiction Is a Health Problem, Not a Criminal Problem'

Speaking at a drug abuse summit in Atlanta, the US president committed to tackling heroin and prescription opioid epidemic with prevention and treatment.

Obama speaking at a National Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, Georgia on 29 March 2016. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Barack Obama committed Tuesday to take on America’s growing heroin and prescription opioid epidemic by devoting resources to prevention and treatment, rather than to the “war on drugs” policies of the last few decades.

“For too long we’ve viewed drug addiction through the lens of criminal justice,” Obama said at a conference in Atlanta. “The most important thing to do is reduce demand. And the only way to do that is to provide treatment – to see it as a public health problem and not a criminal problem.”

The president said he hoped his participation in the panel – part of the ...

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