THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
The 2001 Annual Report on our National Drug Control Strategy issued today by National Drug Policy Director Barry McCaffrey shows that America is making real progress in the fight against illegal drugs, but that we must never give up on making our children's futures safe and drug-free. The most recent National Household Survey on Drug Abuse found that drug use by youths aged twelve to seventeen has declined 21 percent since 1997. Adolescents increasingly disapprove of illegal drugs, and a growing number are using positive peer pressure to help friends stay away from drugs. We have made similar progress combating illegal drug organizations that traffic in these poisons. Additionally, drug-related murders are down to their lowest level in over a decade.
Despite our progress, drugs continue to exact a tremendous toll on our nation. Studies report an increase in the use of steroids and club drugs such as ecstasy by youths, and too many young people are still using alcohol, tobacco, and illegal substances. In addition, one in four inmates in state prisons and more than 60 percent of federal inmates are drug offenders. We need to continue to build on successful initiatives like our Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign so our children can make smart decisions and stay away from drugs. We must also make investments to improve after-school opportunities so our children are supervised during the hours when they are most vulnerable to drugs and crime. In addition, we have a responsibility to reduce the treatment gap as well as help close the revolving prison door of drug offenders by expanding drug courts and drug testing and treatment programs, which have been shown to cut recidivism by as much as 44 percent.
I urge the 107th Congress to continue working together in the bipartisan spirit of my Administration so that we may tackle these important challenges and eliminate the devastating impact of drugs on our nation's communities.