Bono Mack Calls For Strengthened Anti-Drug Policy
Decrying the ongoing problem of substance abuse and addiction in the United States, Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (CA-45) today praised House passage of H.R. 2134, the Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission Act of 2009, which establishes a commission to review and evaluate U.S. anti-drug policy.
Bono Mack, an original co-sponsor of H.R. 2134 and a leading advocate for the prevention and treatment of substance abuse and addiction, emphasized the importance of a comprehensive approach and updated policy that will reduce both the supply of and demand for drugs in the Western Hemisphere.
"Drug abuse and addiction is a major challenge that threatens the health, safety and even futures of our young people and our communities," said Bono Mack. "Despite our efforts over the last decade, substance abuse and addiction continues to grow, claiming new victims each day. This is a problem that has evolved over the years -- and now incorporates everything from common street drugs to prescription medicine.
"This legislation takes an essential first step by evaluating our current anti-drug policy and making critical recommendations that will improve our domestic and international efforts to curb both the supply of and demand for illicit substances.
"Our policies must be updated to more effectively address current challenges and keep young people off these powerful drugs in the first place. Every day, 2,500 children use prescription drugs to get high for the first time. It is essential that any anti-drug policy addresses the serious problem of prescription drug abuse and ensures tighter regulations on these substances.
"By working together as a country, as communities and families, we can fight against the dangerous cycle of drug abuse and the violence it perpetuates. There is no single solution that will eradicate drug use, but through a comprehensive approach -- both here in the U.S. and with our neighboring countries -- we can make a difference and create a safer and more drug-free society."
Bono Mack, who testified on the serious problem of drug abuse and addiction among young people in the United States before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, joined several of her colleagues in introducing H.R. 2134. Specifically, this legislation establishes a 10-member Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission to provide Congress with a report that evaluates U.S. drug policies and makes recommendations on ways to improve them, focusing particularly on international policies and programs in the Western Hemisphere. The commission would consist of non-elected officials appointed by House and Senate leaders, as well as the President. Their recommendations would be due one year after their first meeting.