New Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske Appointed, Makes Ridiculous Remark

At his nomination announcement earlier this month, drug czar appointee Gil Kerlikowske got his first chance to practice saying stuff that makes no sense:

“For too long, we have operated, as the Vice President said, in silence when it comes to making our country drug free and reducing the demand for drugs”.

Oh, crap. He said “drug free.” He’s one of those people. I mean, honestly, since when is there a shortage of proud prohibitionists proclaiming important progress at every opportunity? If there was ever a moment when no one was yelling about making the country drug free, somebody should have told me so I could bask in it.

Other things worth noting about the drug czar appointment:

  • The position has been downgraded from cabinet status. Interesting, but that’s the way it was before Bush, so not a huge deal.
  • The nomination announcement was made by Joe Biden, who carried on about his work on drug policy. Not encouraging.
  • Joe Biden says the drug czar’s office “hasn’t gotten the attention that it should have,” which I think means he wants the new drug czar to be more visible than in the past. Sounds potentially annoying.

All of this serves to remind us that the drug war doctrine still rules in D.C., but I don’t think our cautious optimism about the new drug czar is misplaced. New opponents have taken the stage and we will challenge them as we did their predecessors. The reform argument is gaining a lot of momentum this year and the new administration will face unprecedented pressure to acknowledge fundamental flaws in our drug policy.

Stay tuned.

New York Times: Biden Announces Drug Czar

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