ONDCP Director Kerlikowske Offers Remarks on Drug Policy Reform at NAACP Annual Meeting

(New York City, NY) – Today, during the NAACP’s Annual Meeting, Office of National Drug Control Policy Director (ONDCP) Gil Kerlikowske offered remarks on the state of drug policy in the United States and discussed how the two organizations will work together to reform the criminal justice system.  

 “We cannot arrest our way out of the drug problem,” stated Kerlikowske. “While law enforcement will always play a vital role in addressing violent drug-related crime, we must approach this as a public health issue, not just a criminal justice one.”

“We are honored that Director Kerlikowske joined us today to address this critical issue in our community,” stated Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors. “The War on Drugs has failed our community and our nation.  We will continue to work closely with the ONDCP to bring a close to the drug epidemic ravaging many of our neighborhoods.” 

“Gil Kerlikowske showed us today that he is dedicated to real criminal justice reform,” stated NAACP California State Conference President Alice Huffman who also serves as the chair of the Criminal Justice Committee of the NAACP National Board of Directors. “He is willing to look at drug use as a health policy issue, and widespread recidivism as a moral issue that needs our attention. We look forward to working with him in California and across the country.”

This week, Director Kelikowske and NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous released an editorial discussing the path toward a smarter drug policy. 


Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

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