President Obama promised to change the way the U.S. fights its perpetual war on drugs, and although he's making progress, the president's spending record shows his approach is being adjusted — not revolutionized.
Obama's vision for attacking illegal drugs hinged on a change in the way the government thinks about the drug "problem": Instead of treating drugs like a criminal epidemic to be stamped out, the president is pushing his administration to address drugs as a health epidemic to be treated.
But since the White House launched its National Drug Control Strategy in 2010, the government's spending record shows incremental — not dramatic — changes in how the U.S. goes after the use of illegal drugs.
In his 2015 budget request, Obama is asking Congress for $25.4 billion, $200 million more than the government plans to spend in fiscal 2014.
In Obama's 2015 plan, about 43 cents of each dollar will be spent on programs aimed at reducing Americans' demand for drugs, a part of of the president's health strategy — what the administration officially calls drug "demand reduction."
The rest of the funding — about 57 cents of each dollar, or a total of $14.4 billion — will be spent on "supply reduction," federal efforts to root out drug producers and sellers. That includes $9.2 billion to support domestic law enforcement's anti-drug actions.