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The White House: Letter to Congress
Subject: The White House: Letter to Congress on 1999 National Drug Control
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The White House: Letter to Congress on 1999 National Drug Control Strategy
FEB 9, 1999, M2 Communications - To the Congress of the United States:
On behalf of the American people, I am pleased to transmit the 1999 National
Drug Control Strategy to the Congress. This Strategy renews and advances our
efforts to counter the threat of drugs -- a threat that continues to cost our
Nation over 14,000 lives and billions of dollars each year.
There is some encouraging progress in the struggle against drugs. The 1998
Monitoring the Future study found that youth drug use has leveled off and in
many instances is on the decline -- the second straight year of progress after
years of steady increases. The study also found a significant strengthening of
youth attitudes toward drugs: young people increasingly perceive drug use as a
risky and unacceptable behavior.
The rate of drug-related murders continues to decline, down from 1,302 in 1992
to 786 in 1997.
Overseas, we have witnessed a decline in cocaine production by 325 metric tons
in Bolivia and Peru over the last 4 years. Coca cultivation in Peru plunged 56
percent since 1995.
Nevertheless, drugs still exact a tremendous toll on this Nation. In a 10-year
period, over 100,000 Americans will die from drug use. The social costs of
use continue to climb, reaching $110 billion in 1995, a 64 percent increase
since 1990. Much of the economic burden of drug abuse falls on those who do
abuse drugs -- American families and their communities. Although we have made
progress, much remains to be done.
The 1999 National Drug Control Strategy provides a comprehensive balanced
approach to move us closer to a drug-free America. This Strategy presents a
long-term plan to change American attitudes and behavior with regard to
drugs. Among the efforts this Strategy focuses on are:
Educating children: studies demonstrate that when our children understand the
dangers of drugs, their rates of drug use drop. Through the National Youth
Anti-Drug Media Campaign, the Safe and Drug Free Schools Program and other
efforts, we will continue to focus on helping our youth reject drugs.
Decreasing the addicted population: the addicted make up roughly a quarter of
all drug users, but consume two-thirds of all drugs in America. Our strategy
for reducing the number of addicts focuses on closing the "treatment gap."
Breaking the cycle of drugs and crime: numerous studies confirm that the vast
majority of prisoners commit their crimes to buy drugs or while under the
influence of drugs. To help break this link between crime and drugs, we must
promote the Zero Tolerance Drug Supervision initiative to better keep
drug- and crime-free. We can do this by helping States and localities to
implement tough new systems to drug test, treat, and punish prisoners,
parolees, and probationers.
Securing our borders: the vast majority of drugs consumed in the United States
enter this Nation through the Southwest border, Florida, the Gulf States, and
other border areas and air and sea ports of entry. The flow of drugs into this
Nation violates our sovereignty and brings crime and suffering to our streets
and communities. We remain committed to, and will expand, efforts to safeguard
our borders from drugs.
Reducing the supply of drugs: we must reduce the availability of drugs and the
ease with which they can be obtained. Our efforts to reduce the supply of
must target both domestic and overseas production of these deadly substances.
Our ability to attain these objectives is dependent upon the collective
the American people and the strength of our leadership. The progress we have
made to date is a credit to Americans of all walks of life -- State and local
leaders, parents, teachers, coaches, doctors, police officers, and clergy.
have taken a stand against drugs. These gains also result from the leadership
and hard work of many, including Attorney General Reno, Secretary of Health
Human Services Shalala, Secretary of Education Riley, Treasury Secretary
and Drug Policy Director McCaffrey. I also thank the Congress for their past
and future support. If we are to make further progress, we must maintain a
bipartisan commitment to the goals of the Strategy.
As we enter the new millennium, we are reminded of our common obligation to
build and leave for coming generations a stronger Nation. Our National Drug
Control Strategy will help create a safer, healthier future for all
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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