THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt)
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
General (Ret.) Barry McCaffrey has informed me that he will step down in January as Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank and commend him for his extraordinary work in meeting one of our nation's most pressing challenges. Gen. McCaffrey has brought to his post the same professionalism, dedication, and leadership that have exemplified his 40 years of steadfast service to our nation.
In accepting this post in 1996, Gen. McCaffrey retired from the United States Army as its youngest and most decorated four-star general. He had served and commanded with honor from West Point to the Dominican Republic to Vietnam to the Persian Gulf, and, finally, as Commander in Chief, Southern Command. He was twice awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, our nation's second-highest military honor.
In the nearly five years Gen. McCaffrey has led our war on drugs, we have made significant progress both at home and abroad. We have dramatically increased our counter-drug spending, and launched a $1 billion public-private media campaign to educate young people about the dangers of drug use. Our efforts are paying off. Adolescent drug use in the United States dropped 21 percent in the past two years alone, and drug-related murders are at their lowest level in a decade. And, working with our international partners, we have helped to significantly reduce coca cultivation in Latin America, and helped to build a level drug-free playing field for the world's Olympians.
Our nation and my Administration have benefited greatly from Gen. McCaffrey's outstanding dedication, enterprise, and leadership. He has been a valued member of my Cabinet, and I am grateful for his sound counsel. I am confident that he will continue to serve our nation with honor and distinction in the years ahead. The First Lady and I wish him and his wife Jill all the best in their new endeavors.