U.S. Priorities in Drug War Debated as Pill Abuse Rises

The New York Times, 7/16/12

America’s drug problem is shifting from illicit substances like cocaine to abuse of prescription painkillers, a change that is forcing policy makers to re-examine the long and expensive strategy of trying to stop illegal drugs from entering the United States…

Eric L. Olson, a security analyst with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said the growing debate has, so far, mostly led to confusion. “Some U.S. officials favor building institutions; others think it’s hopeless,” he said.

Other experts are more critical of the Obama administration, pointing to the continued focus on cocaine interdiction, especially in Honduras where commando-style D.E.A. teams have been involved in a series of recent raids, including one that left four people dead, including two pregnant women, and another one, last week, in which two people who were said to be smugglers were killed.

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