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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 11, 1998


July 11, 1998

In his radio address to the nation, President Clinton today announced the findings of a Justice Department study showing that in 9 of 23 cities, the number of arrestees who tested positive for drug use remained the same or decreased slightly from 1996. This study includes the cities of New York, Chicago and Detroit -- where cocaine use is declining, marijuana is leveling off, and methamphetamine (meth) is not a major substance of abuse.

Additionally, the President announced: (1) $27 million in grants for more than 150 drug courts that use the full power of the criminal justice system to rid crime-committing addicts of their drug habits; and (2) the availibility of $5 million in grants for local law enforcement agencies to combat methamphetamine trafficking.

Drug Use by Arrestees

Cocaine use decreasing. Cocaine use continues to decline, most dramatically in the West and Northeast -- where use had reached epidemic levels (80% and more) in the late 1980's -- and among younger arrestees. In Detroit and Washington, D.C., only 5% of young adult arrestees tested positive for cocaine, while nearly half of all older arrestees tested positive for that drug.

Marijuana use leveling off. After increasing over the past several years, marijuana use by younger arrestees is leveling off. Fifteen of the 23 sites reported drops in marijuana use by younger arrestees -- including substantial drops in Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Omaha, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C.

Methamphetamine use rebounds. Meth, which is almost completely absent outside of the West and Southwest, increased in San Diego, Phoenix, San Jose, Portland (OR), Omaha, Dallas and Denver. Previously, meth use had declined over the past 2 years in these cities.

New heroin problem in some cities. Although heroin abuse remains relatively constant and concentrated among older arrestees, this is not true in New Orleans, Philadelphia and St. Louis. Younger arrestees are more likely to test positive for heroin in these 3 cities.

The Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program (ADAM). ADAM is conducted by the Department of Justice's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and provides drug use trends as well as a critical local perspective to the national drug problem. ADAM data is obtained through drug tests and interviews with a population of arrestees. In 1997, ADAM collected data in 23 major metropolitan sites from 19,736 adult males, 7,547 adult females at 21 sites, 3,686 juvenile males in 12 sites and 647 juvenile girl detainees in 8 sites. To continue to help communities respond to local drug problems, the Administration plans to expand ADAM to a total of 35 cities this year and even more in coming years.

President Clinton: A National Policy on Coerced Abstinence

Expanding drug courts nationwide. Today, the Justice Department will provide $27 million in drug court funding for more than 150 jurisdictions to plan, implement, or enhance new and existing drug courts.

Leading the national drug court effort. Since the creation of President Clinton's drug court initiative in the 1994 Crime Act, the number of drug courts has grown exponentially. According to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, the number of drug courts has increased from 12 in 1994 to more than 400 today. And by the year 2000, it is estimated that there will be more than 1,000 drug courts throughout the country.

Rigorous testing and sanctions. A recent study by Columbia University's National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) concluded that drug courts provide more frequent drug testing, and closer supervision than other forms of community supervision. In fact, 55% of drug courts test offenders at least twice weekly, and 35% test offenders at least every week.

Keeping offenders drug- and crime-free. The CASA study also found that drug use and criminal behavior were substantially reduced while offenders were under drug court supervision, as well as after leaving the program. For example, only 4% of the drug court participants in Jackson Country, MO, were rearrested

Challenging Congress to promote coerced abstinence. This past year, two states -- Connecticut and Maryland -- adopted statewide policies of coerced abstinence, and the President challenged Congress to follow their lead by passing his $85 million drug testing and intervention initiative. This initiative will allow states and localities to test and treat probationers, prisoners and parolees.

A strong record promoting coerced abstinence. President Clinton has consistently promoted a policy of drug testing, sanctions, and treatment for drug offenders. He has required states to drug test prisoners and parolees as a condition for receiving prison grants; called for drug testing of federal criminal defendants; expanded testing and treatment in federal prisons; and proposed allowing states to use federal prison funds for drug detection, testing and treatment.

Halting the Spread of Methamphetamine

Using community policing to combat meth. Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) will make nearly $5 million available to jurisdictions with a documented meth problem. Funds can be used for meth enforcement, intervention, and prevention. The 6 participating cities are: Phoenix, AZ; Salt Lake City, UT; Oklahoma City, OK; Dallas, TX; Little Rock, AR; and Minneapolis, MN.

An ongoing strategy on methamphetamine. The President fought for and signed a comprehensive meth strategy that increases penalties for trafficking in meth, and toughens the penalties for trafficking in the precursor chemicals used in its production. Meth enforcement remains a top law enforcement priority, and the President's Drug Strategy and Budget call for $24.5 million to hire 100 new DEA agents to target meth trafficking.