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May 11, 2010 8:30 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

New drug control strategy signals policy shift

The White House is trying to make good on President Barack Obama's promise to treat illegal drug use more as a public health issue than a criminal justice problem.

A new drug control policy to be announced today calls for putting more money and resources into prevention and treatment of drug abuse. It's the first time the administration has directly addressed the drug issue.

The new strategy boosts community-based anti-drug programs, encourages health care providers to screen for drug problems before addiction sets in and expands treatment to mainstream health care facilities.

The goal is reducing the rate of youth drug use by 15 percent over the next five years and for similar reductions in chronic drug use, drug deaths and drugged driving.

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