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S.L. COUNTY COMMISSIONER LAUDS POLICY SHIFT IN WAR AGAINST DRUGS

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Salt Lake County Commission Chairman Mike Stewart has praised what appears to be a shift in the Bush administration's emphasis on fighting the drug war.

Reggie Walton, associate to William Bennett, policy director of the Office of National Drug Control, told the general assembly at the National Association of Counties annual convention Sunday in Miami that "70 percent of the president's new requests for money in the drug war will be in the areas of treatment, education and prevention.""I was surprised to hear that, because the Bush administration has been so law-enforcement oriented," Stewart said, adding that the shift would put more emphasis on fighting the drug war on county-level government where human services are delivered.

According to Jeri Cartwright, Salt Lake County's public information director, Walton said this country had a heroin and cocaine problem at the turn of the century that was subdued by the 1920s because of an emphasis on treatment and education. Walton also expected the current drug war to last 10-15 years, Cartwright said.

All three Salt Lake County commissioners are attending the Miami convention where Stewart will be named president of the organization Tuesday.