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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release August 2, 1999
                           PRESS BRIEFING BY
                        GENERAL BARRY MCCAFFREY

                           The Briefing Room

11:42 A.M. EDT

MR. TOIV: Good morning, everybody. We'd like to have General McCaffrey come up and present some of the commercials that are part of the new phase of the ad campaign that the President just talked about, and talk a little bit more about it and answer your questions. General Barry McCaffrey.

GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Let me, first of all, introduce Peggy Conlin, from the Advertising Council; and Jim Burke I think probably most of you have met -- Partnership For A Drug-Free America. The two of them are heart and soul of the National Youth Media Anti-Drug Campaign.

There's two pieces to it, one of them is a five-year, billion-dollar effort that was less than one percent of the federal counter-drug budget. We'll try and talk to 90 percent of the American people, four times a week, with a scientifically credible anti-drug message. And Partnership For A Drug-Free America gets this work done for us for free by a couple hundred advertising firms around the country -- we pay production costs.

Now, at the same time, Congress mandated into law that we get a minimum of 100 percent matching free access. The Ad Council, going since 1942, public service announcements -- Peggy Conlin is now the President -- has organized this, in the last year, 191,000 ads. And they still have to go through our behavioral science expert panel, but it benefits Mothers Against Drunk Driving, America's Promise, 100 Black Men, a series of coalitions and NGOs who create their own work and then the Ad Council sponsors it. It's been enormously successful -- they've gotten 107 percent match in the year we've been doing that.

Now, what the President just announced was the start of the fully integrated national campaign. It's one of the biggest things we've ever done. It is going to be in 11 languages, starting in September -- I mean, it's going to be in Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Lakota, Ti-wa (phonetic) languages of Native Americans. We're going to talk to young people and their adult mentors in a 102 different media markets, with a message that is credible and that hopefully will help shape their attitudes.

We're confident, from our Columbia University work, from Dr. Alan Leshner at the National Institute of Drug Abuse, we're confident that if you can shape youth attitudes, you change their drug-taking behavior.

Why do we think that? Because we've done an extensive evaluation of our phase one and we believe that the ads are seen, that they are believed to be credible and that, to our astonishment, because there should have been about a two-year lag time on this, that they're actually starting to help change youth behavior. The numbers in the last two years have actually begun to go down in almost every age group, to include underage gateway behavior of alcohol use and tobacco.

Now, these are modest, although statistically significant, gains. But I put that evaluation in front of you because we're committed, in the fully integrated campaign, to using National Institute of Drug Abuse to monitor what we're doing and see how it works so we can modify the campaign as we go along.

A couple of other people I need to introduce, if you will, stand up: Shona Seifert and Dan Merrick, from Ogilvey & Mather, this huge, sophisticated advertising campaign -- they're doing our media buying, they're doing the heavy lifting. And Bev Schwartz from Fleischman Hillard, they're doing a lot of things. They're integrating our public-private partnership; they're doing our Internet strategy. We're very proud of our association with these two corporations and we thank them for their leadership and their assistance.

You should have a packet. One of them outlines what you're going to see in September, is the final, fully integrated campaign goes public; and the other one is a series -- I think we've got a tape where you'll see some of the television, radio, we've got some print ads that you can look at and see how the material is going to look when we put it public.

A lot of this message, although it's scientifically based, depends on the credibility of the spokesperson. We've got to talk to people in a language and in a manner that resonates with that community group. We are enormously proud that Andy McDonald, a Gold Medal X Game skateboarder, joined the President this morning because he's one of the most famous faces in America with adolescents, who look to him as an example of a superb athlete, of a committed, responsible young America citizen, and someone who believes drugs would stand between he and his goals. So that's who we had introduce the President. Arguably the most effective speaker this morning was Andy McDonald. And, Andy, I thank you for your participation.

What I think we ought to do is let me show you a tape and I think it's got five video and three radio ads, just to give you sort of an overview of what this will look like in September.

Go ahead and roll them.

(Videos are shown.)

GENERAL MCCAFFREY: If I can, why don't I just open the floor to questions -- we'd be glad to respond to your own interests. Peggy Conlin or Jim Burke or I or anyone.

Q General McCaffrey, we understand this is your third phase and you have 11 different languages this time. Last time there was a bit of criticism. You did a concerted effort before. There was a bit of criticism about the media buys for the campaign. Could you talk to us about how you've tried to fix that problem with the media buys and what outlets you did, versus -- minorities versus mainstream? Because you do have several commercials that are definitely targeted to urban America.

GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Yes, well, one of the four pillars of the campaign was multicultural approach. We knew you had to have a message that resonates with you, age 9 to 18, regardless of who you are. And so, from the start, although Ogilvey & Mather is the corporation that is the quarterback of the media buy, they have 10 ethnic diversity partners, and absolutely the best people in the business. And Muse-Cordero-Chin , for example, an absolute first-rate African American and other ethnic orientated firm, did that ad that sort of brings tears to your eyes.

Now, what we're doing is we're looking at the target audience. And I don't need to tell you, this is a changing marketplace, with cable TV, with kids who are now on the Internet, so we're trying to be where the young people are.

What I can tell you is that in phase two we did incredibly well getting to our ethnic marketplace. So what we said our self-announced goal -- and this is based on Jim Burke's Partnership For A Drug-Free America work, to be honest -- we went into it saying we need to talk to kids four times a week, with a 90-percent market penetration.

If you look at what we did, we talk about African American kids; we got to them eight times a week with a 95 percent market penetration. We got to Hispanic kids 4.8 with 93 percent, et cetera. But you have to take different techniques. Now, if you look at how we spend our money, that's caused a lot of anxiety. And what I said was, Ogilvey & Mather, who do this for a living, need to be responsive to our own evaluation. So Westat Corporation and others are going to see how this media campaign proceeds.

But having said that, when you talk about targeting black kids, we're spending $25 million. When you talk about targeting Hispanic kids, we're spending $10 million. Now, part of that is, if you want to get to Hispanic kids, that $10 million is for Spanish language shows. And if you want to talk adult mentors, for example, in the Chinese American community, you've got to go on Chinese language radio. So we will continue to watch the issue. What I have pledged to the CBC and the Hispanic Caucus and others is, we will reach the target audience using tools that they're responding to. Thanks for that question.

Q -- print buys as well?


Q A lot of print buys -- because I understand last time that was the --

GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Well, there are print buys. We did increase them. It's a good tool to get to opinion-shapers. But if you want to talk to a lot of people, and you want to invest your money, television and the Internet, as an example, are ways to get a huge bang for your buck.


GENERAL MCCAFFREY: BET's got -- we're putting money into BET, absolutely, yes. What I actually have them do, now -- when Partnership for Drug-Free America brief me on a series of ads, they tell me who the target audience is, and what age group. And the work is very sophisticated. It's not obvious, necessarily, who you're talking to. If you want to talk to white teenagers in the suburbs, you invest in black radio stations because that's the music they're listening to.

Kids will move with the marketplace, on what appeals to them. And what we're going to do is, we're going to follow them to make sure that message is there and it's credible. Thanks very much for that question.

Q General, you just came back from a trip to Colombia, and I was wondering what the relations between your domestic and --

GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Could I see if there are any other questions that relate to the media campaign? I will respond to your question, it's an important one. But are there any other sort of notions about the media campaign?

Q Yes, I have a question. There was a controversy recently on Capitol Hill, a number of members of Congress said they'd like to see this campaign expanded to cover alcohol. And I believe the statistics are that six times more young people die in alcohol-related incidents than in drug-related incidents. Could you explain what your office's view is on that subject, and what the administration is going to do to get an anti-alcohol abuse message out to young people?

GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Well, there's no question that, although alcohol is legal, socially acceptable and mildly addictive -- having said all that, it's the single worst drug abuse problem in the country, hands down. You know, pick your statistics. I say it kills 100,000 people a year and costs American society $150 billion a year. If you talk to a cop, it's the principal cause of violent behavior, of burglary, et cetera. And clearly it's the most abused drug by adolescents, it's illegal behavior for them, and we ought to be concerned.

And work of people like the National Institute of Drug Abuse does indicate that abuse of alcohol and cigarette smoking is part of this constellation of gateway drug using behavior. So we have to confront the issue.

Peggy Conlin, the Ad Council, have put -- if I remember the number -- some 7,000 anti-alcohol ads have been on TV in the last year. We started the biggest underage drinking anti-alcohol abuse campaign we've seen so far. And Mothers Against Drunk Driving got their reel and it's out there in the media right now. And it's being played at the right times. So we'll follow it very closely.

Having said that, it's also clear, from looking at the kind of enormous 10 years of experience of Partnership For A Drug-Free America has that if you want to counter that drug of abuse, you have to have a very different strategy than going against methamphetamine. It is not true that we're equating, your dad's 40, he's having two beers watching football -- we're not equating that behavior with dad snorting heroin. So we've got to make sure that if we're going to go to underage drinking strategies, that we know what we're talking about before we do it.

Now, the second thing is, you don't get something for nothing. If we want to go after underage alcohol abuse with a paid campaign, then we need to pay for it. And I think Jim Burke and I would argue we're right on the margin right now with the amount of money we're using. We're out in the marketplace with $2 billion worth of beer ads, and in a marketplace with billions of dollars worth of cigarette advertisements. So I think it's a different approach, and I think the administration says, we're fully supportive on the substance of the argument, but let's make sure we know what we're doing.

Q So you don't believe that within the $195 million allocated each year, there's any room there for paid anti-alcohol abuse?

GENERAL MCCAFFREY: No, I don't, to be honest. And I think I've got to be cautious to not confuse the market with this message. But having said that, the Ad Council is clearly supportive of America's Promise, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 100 Black Men, and a lot of these messages you'll see are on other drug-related behavior.

Thanks for that question. Yes, go ahead.

Q The first commercial you showed, well, one of the first commercials you showed, it had something to do with -- what is it -- the midnight basketball clinics or a basketball clinic. Is that truly the answer for the dominant audience that you're trying to hit, the Hispanic and African American community?

GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Well, I think what the research seems to show -- and, by the way, all these ads go through a very painful process of being evaluated by our behavioral science expert panel -- I think what most of the evidence seems to show is that if you want kids to not use drugs, from the age -- from kindergarten on, but particularly this campaign, 9-18, they have to have a series of credible messages by people who they trust that say, don't use drugs. So this is less than one percent of the counter-drug effort.

The heavy hitting effort is mom and dad, homeroom teacher, pediatrician, faith leadership, et cetera. And when you go to that community and say how do you keep kids off drugs, only one component of it tells them about the harm of drugs; most of it talks about being involved, mentored activity, do kids have options between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. -- which is why you hear me talking about the Boys and Girls Clubs, the YMCA, et cetera. It's not so much an anti-drug message as giving young people options.

And I don't think there's any question that the Scouting movement, basketball clinic, junior ROTC -- General Powell was in the press yesterday with standing solidly behind junior ROTC -- those are the factors that keep kids from using drugs.

And, by the way, if you look at the clusters of human behavior, it also works against teen pregnancy, violent behavior -- you're talking about having kids grow up with the right attitudes.

Q Do we have statistical evidence that organized sporting activities do, in fact, prevent drug abuse?

GENERAL MCCAFFREY: What we've got is a lot of very good material out of the University of Michigan, UCLA, Johns Hopkins, University of Pennsylvania Medical College, Harvard University, a lot of it funded by NIDA. NIDA basically supports the global research on it.

I think the more you get specific -- part of the problem of the DARE program has been people looking at a 5th and 6th grade youth intervention school-based, and then going to 12th graders and asking why DARE failed to reduce their drug use rates in the 12th grade. So pulling out a single variable in a young person's development is nearly impossible. What we do believe -- for example, DARE is one of the most effective drug prevention programs, in my view, in the world. It's huge, it's 26 million kids; but it's just 5th and 6th graders primarily. It's only a school-based program and if the rest of it isn't there, if there isn't a coherent anti-drug message, it won't work.

But I think, arguably, most of us believe -- that's why we wanted Andy McDonald to be one of our spokesmen; I think he represents what 14-year-olds would like to be like. As a matter of fact, the President and I were sort of envious of him, too. (Laughter.) I think sports programs and mentored after-school activities and Saturdays and summers and, you know, if mom and dad are going to work, then who's going to nurture our children. And that's a strong, anti-drug component to that concern.

What other thoughts? Okay, yes, ma'am.

Q I was wondering whether you think you can be successful on your domestic campaign if you cannot control the supply. I mean, how do you relate to the supply with the demand and here comes those --

GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Well, the supply of drugs we've got to operate again. There's no question. And I might remind audiences, our data on this domestically is sort of soft. A lot of our drugs are domestically produced. We're making, possibly, half the methamphetamine we consume here in the United States. The two biggest methamphetamine-producing countries that threaten America are Mexico and California. Those are the places that those drugs come from.

But we also see MDMA -- Ecstasy -- is being produced in the Netherlands, and coming to the East Coast of the United States from there. And we're seeing other chemically manufactured psychoactive drugs -- PCP, Rohypnol, GHB -- are all coming on to the domestic arena.

We also say -- if you want to talk about the worst drug abuse problem in America, it's a 12-year-old smoking pot on weekends. Because when we look at the statistical correlations, you have this huge increase, statistically, in the probability the kid's going to have a compulsive drug use problem later on in life. And that high-THC pot is grown primarily in the United States or Canada.

Now, having said that, cocaine -- we made spectacular progress in the last three years. It's almost hard to believe, for a person like me, with my background. We cut coca production in Peru by 56 percent. That's pretty good data, that's satellite photography. We cut coca production in Bolivia by 22 percent. There was actually a net reduction in cocaine available for consumption in the last two years.

Poor Colombia doubled coca production in three years. It is outrageous, the levels of money and violence that are being directed at Colombian democratic institutions. The police, the Army, the judicial system, mayors -- if you're honest and you're trying to protect Colombian democratic institutions, you're in trouble. So if President Pastrana, you know, is trying to confront the drug issues, trying to confront a peace process, he's got an economy with 20 percent unemployment -- Colombia is in trouble. And they're important to us -- "us" meaning regional actors.

I think at some point Secretary Albright and Attorney General Janet Reno and Secretary Cohen and all of us involved in this will have to reevaluate a dynamic situation that's going in the wrong direction in Colombia. It's an emergency situation.

Q When you say reevaluate, what kind of reevaluation, how deeply do you want to --

GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Well, I think, basically, many of us believe we have to support the peace process, we have to support the economy, we have to support Colombian efforts to separate the money from the FARC, the ELN and the paramilitary forces. That's where this corrosive impact -- you know, pick an Intel study, one of them is at $215 million a year, the others run up to $600 million a year. With that level of money, you know, the FARC and the ELN, the paramilitary, has been there for the last 10 years, but their money came from extortion, kidnapping, murders, bank robberies, blowing up the pipeline system. You throw in $600 million in drug money, it changes the equation.

The U.S., as part of the regional partnership, ought to provide training. We ought to provide intelligence, where appropriate, as long as it's focused on the counter-drug mission; equipment, where appropriate; and political support, in a regional sense, for the peace process. And I think that's what we'll try and do.

Q Can you comment on comments last week, that he does not consider the foreign narco-guerrilla group, with U.S. aid --

GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Well, let me -- I want to get to you as the last question. Let me just say, I refuse to discuss the names. What is clearly the case is, you've got 25,000 people with mortars, lots of automatic weapons, land mines, and AKs. They are -- last night they besieged a police station, which finally fell, for three days, and they got in there and killed everybody or led them off in captivity.

And the problem is the money. The money is providing enormous amounts of lethal weaponry, of aircraft, of legal talent, of corruption, for the system. That's the problem. It's drug-related money; it's tied directly to coca production and heroin.

And I think getting involved in a debate over whether we call them narco-guerrillas or whatever is irrelevant to me. I think the police, the army, and judges and prosecutors are terrified that as many of 2,000 of these armed insurgents will show up in a nationwide, coordinated offensive against democratic institutions. That's a problem. Yes, ma'am?

Q Thank you. Just to follow up with that, what seems to concern President Pastrana is that the impression in the world could be that he's negotiated with drug traffickers for the peace process, and that's what worries him when you use the term "narco-guerrillas."

GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Yes. I wouldn't want to speak to that. There's no question in my mind that the peace process strategy has to come from Colombian leadership. They'll be held accountable by history. And what we need to do is listen very carefully, and support his efforts in ways that are appropriate.

Q The Mexican government already approve it, but last week the Mexican judge rejected the extradition of one of the -- what do you think, General, could affect this through the bi-national fight against drugs?

GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Well, you know, extradition cases are something for the two Attorneys General, Madraso and Janet Reno, to work in accordance with national law. These aren't policy questions, they're legal questions.

Having said that, all of us are persuaded -- and I say all of us, particularly the OAS -- that we're all signatories of the 1988 Vienna Convention. And we are all committed to not allowing drug criminals to find refuge in another country. So I think, over time, that's the way both Mexico and U.S. authorities feel about it. Extradition and seizure of money and assets are the two tools that these drug criminals fear the most.

Thanks very much.

END 12:15 P.M. EDT