THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:
On behalf of the American people, I am pleased to transmit the 1998 National Drug Control Strategy to the Congress. The 1998 Strategy reaffirms our bipartisan, enduring commitment to reduce drug use and its destructive consequences.
This year's Strategy builds upon the 1997 Strategy and is designed to reduce drug use and availability in America in half over the next 10 years -- a historic new low. This plan has been developed under the leadership of General Barry McCaffrey, Director of National Drug Control Policy, in close consultation with the Congress, the more than 50 Federal agencies and departments involved in the fight against drugs, the dedicated men and women of law enforcement, and with stakeholders -- mayors, doctors, clergy, civic leaders, parents, and young people -- drawn from all segments of our society.
I am also proud to report that we have made real and substantial progress in carrying out the goals of the 1997 Strategy. Working with the Congress, we have begun the National Anti-Drug Youth Media Campaign. Now when our children turn on the television, surf the "net," or listen to the radio, they can learn the plain truth about drugs: they are wrong, they put your future at risk, and they can kill you. I thank you for your vital support in bringing this important message to America's young people.
Together, we enacted into law the Drug-Free Communities Act of 1997, which will help build and strengthen 14,000 community anti-drug coalitions and brought together civic groups -- ranging from the Elks to the Girl Scouts and representing over 55 million Americans -- to form a Civic Alliance, targeting youth drug use. By mobilizing people and empowering communities, we are defeating drugs through a child-bychild, street-by-street, and neighborhood-by-neighborhood approach.
We have also helped make our streets and communities safer by strengthening law enforcement. Through my Administration's Community Oriented Police (COPs) program, we are helping put 100,000 more police officers in towns and cities across the Nation. We are taking deadly assault weapons out of the hands of drug dealers and gangs, making our streets safer for our families. We have taken steps to rid our prisons of drugs, as well as to break the vicious cycle of drugs and crime. These efforts are making a difference: violent crime in America has dropped dramatically for 5 years in a row.
Over the last year, the United States and Mexico reached agreement on a mutual Threat Assessment that defines the scope of the common threat we face; and, an Alliance that commits our great nations to defeating that threat. Soon, we will sign a bilateral Strategy that commits both nations to specific actions and performance benchmarks. Our work to enhance cooperation within the hemisphere and worldwide is already showing results. For example, Peruvian coca production has declined by roughly 40 percent over the last 2 years. In 1997, Mexican drug eradication rates reached record levels, and seizures increased nearly 50 percent over 1996.
We are making a difference. Drug use in America has declined by 50 percent over the last decade. For the first time in 6 years, studies show that youth drug use is beginning to stabilize, and in some respects is even declining. And indications are that the methamphetamine and crack cocaine epidemics, which in recent years were sweeping the Nation, have begun to recede.
However, we must not confuse progress with ultimate success. Although youth drug use has started to decline, it remains unacceptably high.
More than ever, we must recommit ourselves to give parents the tools and support they need to teach children that drugs are dangerous and wrong. That is why we must improve the Safe and Drug-Free Schools program, and other after school initiatives that help keep our kids in school, off drugs, and out of trouble. We must hire 1,000 new border patrol agents and close the door on drugs at our borders. We must redouble our efforts with other nations to take the profits out of drug dealing and trafficking and break the sources of supply. And we must enact comprehensive bipartisan tobacco legislation that reduces youth smoking. These and other efforts are central elements of the 1998 National Drug Control Strategy.
With the help of the American public, and the ongoing support of the Congress, we can achieve these goals. In submitting this plan to you, I ask for your continued partnership in defeating drugs in America. Our children and this Nation deserve no less.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
THE WHITE HOUSE, March 3, 1998.
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