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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 27, 1997


Today, the President will be joined by General McCaffrey, Secretary Shalala, Members of Congress, and leaders of community anti-drug organizations to sign the Drug-Free Communities Act of 1997. At this Roosevelt Room event, the President will also reiterate his commitment to a thorough public health review of the tobacco settlement. Secretary Shalala and Domestic Policy Advisor Bruce Reed will be opening the press briefing later in the day.


The Drug-Free Communities Act represents a targeted effort by Congress to rechannel existing federal drug-control money into community-based programs focused on preventing and treating teenage substance abuse. The measure, authored by Congressman Rob Portman (R-OH) and orginally co-sponsored by Congressman Sandy Levin (D-MI), Congressman Hastert (R-IL), and Congressman Rangel (R-NY), engendered broad bipartisan support as evidenced by a 420-1 vote in the House and Senate passage by voice vote. The measure represents a significant collaboration between Congressman Portman and the Office of National Drug Control Policy which has resulted in a strong Congressional endorsement of community-based drug prevention programs.

The measure will authorize the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to spend up to $143.5 million over five years ($10 million in FY'98 with increasing amounts in each fiscal year culminating in $43.5 million for FY 2002) to support long-term, community-based substance abuse programs that meet the following criteria:

  1. programs must show a comprehensive approach and community-wide leadership and commitment for reducing and preventing drug abuse;
  2. programs must develop a self-evaluation process and raise funds to match the federal grant dollar for dollar (grants are capped at $100,000);
  3. programs must maintain substantial volunteer involvement from youth, parents, schools, religious leaders, police officials and others; and
  4. programs must develop and demonstrate financial support that will continue after the federal grant is expended.

The bill would establish an 11-member commission to advise the Director of ONDCP on the design and implementation of the grant program established by the bill. The members of the commission will be appointed by the President and must have a demonstrated interest and expertise in substance abuse reduction programs.

President Clinton: Building Stronger Communities by Combatting Drug Use

Historic and High Profile Anti-Drug Strategy

The largest anti-drug budgets ever. Year-in and year-out, President Clinton has proposed the largest anti-drug budgets ever, including this year's proposed $16 billion. [ONDCP, The National Drug Control Strategy, 1997: Budget Summary, 1997]

Elevated the Drug Czar to a Cabinet Position. President Clinton is the first President to make the Director of National Drug Control Policy a Cabinet position. [U.P.I. 7/1/1993] He appointed four-star general, Barry McCaffrey, to lead our nation's fight against drugs.

Developed a comprehensive National Drug Control Strategy that will reduce illegal drug use through law enforcement, prevention, treatment, interdiction and international efforts. [Office of National Drug Control Strategy (ONDCP), National Drug Control Strategy, 1997]

Protecting Our Children from Drugs and Violence

Targeting young people with anti-drug messages. The President's proposed FY 98 budget funds a $175 million national advertising campaign that would rely on high-impact, anti-drug television ads to educate young people on the dangers of illegal drug use. [ONDCP, The National Drug Control Strategy, 1997: Budget Summary, 1997]

Strengthened and expanded the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act. The President's proposed FY 98 budget contains a $60 million increase for Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program, which reaches 97% of the nation's school districts. Schools use these funds to keep violence, drugs and alcohol away from students and out of schools.

[ONDCP, The National Drug Control Strategy, 1997: Budget Summary, 1997]

Proposed funding for 1,000 after-school initiatives in communities across the country. The President's Anti-Gang and Youth Violence Strategy will help keep schools open late, on weekends and in the summer so young people will stay off the streets and out of trouble.

Getting Tough on Drug-Related Crime

Putting 100,000 new community police on our streets. The President's plan represents the federal government's biggest commitment ever to local law enforcement.

Mandatory drug testing of state prisoners and parolees as a condition of parole. President Clinton fought for and signed legislation requiring states to drug test parolees so that they can send them back to prison if they get back on drugs. [Omnibus Consolidated Appropriation Act, 1997, P.L. 104-208, Signed 9/30/96] Targeting gangs with new prosecutors and tougher penalties as part of the President's Anti-Gang and Youth Violence Strategy. The President's strategy increases penalties for selling drugs to kids and using kids to sell drugs.

Expanding drug courts. The Clinton Administration has established drug courts across the country because they have proven effective in breaking the cycles of drugs and crime. The President's FY 98 budget increases funding for this program by 150% over last year's funding. [ONDCP, The National Drug Control Strategy, 1997: Budget Summary, 1997]

Developed a comprehensive strategy to combat the trafficking and abuse of methamphetamine, one of the country's most dangerous drugs. The President fought for and signed legislation that increases penalties for trafficking in meth and those chemicals used to produce meth. [Comprehensive Methamphetamine Control Act of 1996, P.L. 104-237, 10/3/96] And the strategy worked. In the eight cities where meth use had been skyrocketing, it declined substantially in 1996. [National Institute of Justice's Drug Use Forecasting Program, 1996]

Stopping Drugs at the Border

Drug seizures are up. The Clinton Administration has increased seizures of marijuana by 50% - from 787,523 pounds in 1992 to 1,163,989 pounds in 1996. And seizures of heroin are up 32% -from 1,157 kilograms in 1992 to 1,524 kilograms in 1996. [DEA's FDSS Report, 3/11/97]

More border patrol agents than ever. There are now over 6,000 Border Patrol Agents stemming the flow of crime and drugs over the border. This represents an increase of over 70% since 1993. [Federal News Service, Prepared Testimony of Commissioner Doris Meissner, Immigration and Naturalization Services, 4/10/97]

Stopping drug smugglers. In 1996 the Clinton Administration implemented "Zorro II," an effort to shut down a cocaine trafficking partnership between the Cali mafia and a major Mexican mafia trafficking organization.

The results: 156 suspects arrested; 5,500 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana seized; and several million dollars of drug proceeds seized. [ONDCP, The National Drug Control Strategy, 1997: Budget Summary, 1997]

Part of a Strategy that's Working

Crime rates have dropped for five straight years. For five years before President Clinton took office, violent crime was increasing in America. The President's anti-crime strategy has helped reverse this trend --and violent crime has now dropped five years in a row. [FBI, Uniform Crime Report, 1/5/97]