Drug Czar: Pot Legalization Won’t Change Mission

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File photo of Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske. (credit: YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske. (credit: YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

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BALTIMORE (AP) — The nation’s drug czar says the legalization of marijuana in Washington state and Colorado won’t change his office’s mission of fighting the nation’s drug problem by getting treatment for those battling addictions.

Gil Kerlikowske, director of the National Drug Control Policy, released President Barack Obama’s 2013 strategy for fighting drug addiction Wednesday at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

He says questions about the legal implications of the policy changes in Washington state and Colorado are best left to the Justice Department.

The strategy includes a greater emphasis on using public health tools to battle addiction and diverting non-violent drug offenders into treatment instead of prisons.

Millions of people in the United States will become eligible in less than a year for treatment for substance abuse under the new health care overhaul.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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