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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 11, 1997

President Clinton:
Fighting Drugs, Protecting Communities and Saving Kids

President Clinton is committed to continuing our progress in reducing drug use and to reversing the trend among youth by focussing our efforts on our children. While overall drug use in America is down, the problem of youth drug use remains a top priority of the Administration.

The President's Anti-Drug Media Campaign

Targeting Young People With The Anti-Drug Message. Because our first priority is to prevent drug use among our youth, the Clinton Administration is funding a massive national media campaign to motivate America's youth to reject illegal drugs and substance abuse. This $195-million media campaign will rely on high-impact, anti-drug television and radio advertisements aired during prime-time to educate and inform young people and their parents on the dangers of illegal drug use.

This Achievement Builds on the President's Five-Year Effort to Fight Drugs

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. Between 1996 and 1998, resources for drug control increased by 19%, from $13.5 billion in FY 1996 to the President's proposed budget of $16 billion in FY 1998. For example, resources increased for domestic law enforcement by 14% and interdication by 22%.

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. 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. Building on this effort, the Administration is now putting in place a ten-year strategy to reduce drug use in America to the lowest ever historically recorded rate of drug abuse.

Protecting our Communities from Drugs

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.

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.

Fighting drugs at the local level. The President signed the Drug Free Communities Act of 1997, which will provide grants to community anti-drug coalitions throughout the country.

Getting Tough on Drug-Related Crime

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 toughens the penalties for trafficking in those chemicals used to produce meth. And the Clinton Administration's targeting of meth has gotten results: in the eight cities where meth use has been skyrocketing, it declined substantially in 1996. Meth use was down 52% in Dallas, 20% in San Jose, 19% in San Diego, 7% in Portland, and over 40% in Denver, Omaha and Phoenix.

Mandatory drug testing of state and federal prisoners as a condition of parole. President Clinton fought for and signed legislation requiring states to drug test prisoners and parolees so that they can send them back to prison if they get back on drugs.

Expanding drug courts. The Clinton Administration has established drug courts across the country because they've proven effective in breaking the cycles of drugs and crime - they give nonviolent offenders a chance to get off drugs before they end up in jail. The President has asked Congress to increase funding for this program 150% over last year's funding.

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.

Real Results, But More Needs to be Done

Youth drug use - making progress but much work needs to be done. For the first time since 1992, illicit drug use among teens aged 12-17 declined. However, teen drug use is still too high and we must continue our efforts to fight it.

Crack use is declining. The most recent data from the Drug Use Forecasting Program show a decline in crack use across the nation, a good indication that the crack epidemic that began in 1987 has finally begun to abate.

Overall Drug Use Is Down. In 1996, there were half as many current illicit drug users than there were in 1979, when drug use was at its height.