In the U.S., how the government approaches drugs has very little to do with science. The War on Drugs has put the focus on incarceration and enforcement, not on the public health aspects of addiction. We classify drugs based on politics, rather than their actual risk, and inhibit further research that might prove them useful to society.
As far back as his 2004 campaign for the U.S. Senate, Barack Obama has been calling America's drug war an "utter failure," but now it finally seems like his administration may be getting serious about enacting tangible reform with the "science-driven" 2013 National Drug Control Strategy released yesterday.
"Drug policy reform should be rooted in neuroscience—not political science," said Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Since Obama's first drug strategy plan was released in 2010, the White House has been advocating for a "third way" for drug policy reform--something between all-out legalization and the War on Drugs.