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IV. A Comprehensive Approach

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The key to a successful long-term strategy is mobilizing resources toward the systematic achievement of established goals. This chapter summarizes the key initiatives undertaken to decrease drug use and its consequences in America. More detailed information about specific departmental or agency programs can be found in Book II of this Strategy.


The National Drug Control Strategy focuses on youth for both moral and practical reasons. Children are the innocents of our society. Physically and emotionally vulnerable to environment, they are nurtured if care is available, bruised if unprotected. As youngsters grow, they learn what they are taught, see what they are shown. Ultimately, adolescents adopt the expectations and values held dear by people they love.

With experience, youth become the stewards of tomorrow. In turn, they raise their own children, lead communities, and conduct the business of America. If we can bring teens to adulthood free of substance abuse, they will bequeath to themselves and our nation limitless potential. In the promise of youthful dreams, the ideals of democracy are realized.

If boys and girls grow to maturity without using illegal drugs, alcohol, or tobacco, they are likely to remain drug-free for the rest of their lives. Rarely does a person begin drug abuse after the age of twenty. Our intention, therefore, is to raise children who recognize toxic, addictive substances as alien, self-destructive, and anti-social.

To this end, the Strategy fosters initiatives to educate children, parents, and mentors. We seek to mobilize civic and anti-drug organizations, businesses, and communities that have the best interests of children at heart. We must establish drug-free environments, restrict youth access to alcohol and tobacco products, and treat individuals already caught up in the throes of substance abuse. To achieve these ends, we draw upon the following sources:

  • Social influences like families and friends as well as the pervasive power of the media, which collectively affect young people through words, actions, and narrative portrayal of specific activities.

  • Personal qualities like confidence, self-control, wisdom, and responsibility -- which mitigate against illegal drugs; versus insecurity, carelessness, selfishness, and risk-taking -- which promote the abuse of power, people, and substances.

  • Community and societal norms and values that can reinforce family and school-based prevention efforts.

Substance abuse among children is a complex, multidimensional problem. Nonetheless, it is a problem that can be affected by concerted and sustained action. This Strategy proposes a comprehensive, long-term approach designed to mobilize and leverage federal and state resources and to raise awareness through well-coordinated initiatives allowing the vast majority of our youth to mature drug-free. These initiatives include:

Broadening "Drug-Free Zones"

Young Americans are more likely to use illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco if these substances are readily available or if their use is encouraged directly or subtly in youth-oriented materials. It is therefore critical to keep drugs out of areas where children and adolescents study, play, or spend leisure time. All who seek to communicate with our youth, no matter what the medium, must depict these substances and effects in accurate ways. The federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, restrictions on tobacco and alcohol advertising, and voluntary limitations on audio and video content are examples of ways in which drugs and pro-drug messages are already being kept away from young Americans. Youth organizations such as the ASPIRA, Boys and Girls Club, parent-teacher associations, the scouts, YMCA, YWCA, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and others can help in this effort.

Expanding School-Based Prevention Programs that Work

Schools offer both formal and informal opportunities for developing youth attitudes toward drugs. In the classroom, students can receive accurate, comprehensive information that will help them understand the importance of avoiding illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. In cases where substance abuse has occurred, these programs can teach students why they should discontinue drug use before the onset of dependency. These programs must be comprehensive and focus on reducing risk factors; teaching avoidance skills; and building collaborative anti-drug relations between students, teachers, and parents. The Drug Awareness Resistance Education program (D.A.R.E.), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms' Gang Resistance Education and Training programs are example of school-based programs.

The Department of Education has focused on two primary goals: improving the quality of drug and violence prevention programming and changing the attitudes of students and parents regarding illicit use of alcohol and drugs. It will reinstate the Safe and Drug-Free School Recognition Program, promote and provide incentives to schools for prevention programs, develop a long-term demonstration program to test promising drug and violence prevention strategies, and provide literature to parents for raising drug-free children.

Expanding Youth-Oriented Anti-Drug Messages

The power of the media in developing public opinion is enormous. Young people are particularly susceptible to such influences. Unfortunately, in recent years the number of drug-related public service announcements carried by television, radio, and print media have decreased markedly. We seek to reverse this trend by developing a public education campaign that supplements anti-drug announcements already offered by dedicated organizations like the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and the National Center for Advancement and Prevention. Youth will be warned about the hazards of illegal drugs and shown the advantages of a drug-free lifestyle. Information-based material will be repeated with sufficient frequency to reinforce learning and motivate youth to reject illegal drugs.

Preventing Alcohol Use by Youth

Underage drinking continues to be a significant problem. Approximately one in four tenth grade students and one third of twelfth graders report having had five or more drinks on at least one occasion in the last two weeks.1 The average age of first drinking is declining and is now 15.9 years, down from a 1987 average age of 17.4 years.2 To counter these alarming statistics, the Strategy recommends educating youth, their mentors, and the public about the dangers of underage drinking; limiting youth access to alcoholic beverages; encouraging communities to support alcohol-free behavior on the part of youth; and creating both incentives and disincentives that lead to less alcohol abuse by young people. States are urged to enact zero-tolerance laws to reduce drinking and driving among young people. Licenses for driving and for the sale of alcoholic beverages must be contingent on keeping our young safe from alcohol-induced dangers. Organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Students Against Driving Drunk are encouraged to continue their efforts.

Preventing Tobacco Use by Youth

Despite a decline in adult smoking, the use of tobacco products is on the rise among American youth. In 1995, more than a third of high school seniors were current cigarette smokers -- a greater number than at any time since the 1970s.3 The vast majority of smokers (over 80 percent) start smoking before age eighteen.4 Every day three thousand more children become regular smokers; one third of these youngsters will have their lives shortened as a result.5 The statistical correlation between tobacco and drug abuse is high. Youths aged twelve to seventeen who smoke are about eight times more likely to use illicit drugs and five times more likely to drink heavily than non-smoking youth.6 Of adults who use cocaine, 83 percent identify cigarettes as a gateway drug.7 We seek to reduce children's access to tobacco products, diminish the appeal of cigarettes for young people, and educate youth about the lethal effects of tobacco. Organizations like the National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids are already doing much to educate young Americans about the dangers of both smoked and smokeless tobacco products.

Collaborating with the Media and Entertainment Industries

Youth, perhaps even more than the public at large, are affected by the icons of our society. The glamour of Hollywood movies, the charisma of celebrities, the perceived-proximity of television stars, the prowess of accomplished athletes, and the artistry of musicians all sway young people's emotions. The performances and lifestyles of public figures impress young people, who emulate the heros they admire. The creative talent of the entertainment industries can depict drug use and its consequences accurately, thereby increasing the perception of risk that young people associate with illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. A greater appreciation for the relationship between creativity and social responsibility will help protect America's youth from substance abuse.

Involving Corporate America

The business sector and public relations organizations can join the common cause of mobilizing resources to reach America's young. Target companies will be leaders in youth market products, services, and entertainment. They will be encouraged in the presentation of youth-oriented messages in favor of health and against substance abuse.

Promoting Media Literacy

Youngsters need the requisite skills to evaluate the messages they are receiving from music, film, advertising, and other media that attempt to influence their attitudes toward drugs, tobacco, and alcohol. In the Information Age, media literacy is an important tool -- particularly for adolescents who have gained enough independence to make decisions and bear the consequences. Media literacy teaches critical thinking so that viewers are able to interpret the content of what they are viewing and hearing. This skill empowers individuals to modify their own internal environment by affecting the way they see pictures and hear slogans, jingles, and music in context. Youth mentors -- parents, teachers, coaches, and spiritual leaders -- will be assisted in imparting media literacy to the young.

Reducing Drugged Driving

Twenty percent of high school seniors stated that they have smoked marijuana in a car.8 The initiative on drugs, driving, and youth is intended to reduce drug use by young people as well as general driving under the influence of drugs. The major features of this initiative, which affect both young and adult drivers, are:

  • Drug testing driver's license applicants -- A demonstration program. Drug testing, in conjunction with application for driver's licenses, will send the message that drugs and driving don't mix. The program will also identify youth who should be referred to drug assessment and treatment. This demonstration program will be run in several states over the next two years to determine the effectiveness of this concept.
  • State incentive grants to improve individual states' drugged-driving laws. States will receive federal funding as they enact and enforce specified laws (for example, making illegal driving under the influence of illicit drugs).

  • Prevention and education. Model educational materials on the health risks of drug use, the negative effects of drugs on driving, and sanctions for drugged driving and other drug offenses will be developed. These materials will be distributed to states as well as traffic safety and prevention groups.


The social ruin fostered by drug-related crime and violence mirrors the tragedy that substance abuse wreaks on individuals caught in its tentacles. The psychological, civic, and economic consequences of illegal drugs and their trade lead to disruptive, volatile, anti-social behavior. Significant percentages of domestic violence cases are tied to the use of illegal drugs -- especially methamphetamine, which induces violent, erratic, and abusive behavior. A large number of the twelve million property crimes committed each year are drug-related as are almost two million violent crimes.9

Although the United States cannot hope to arrest its way out of the drug abuse problem, incarceration is entirely appropriate for many drug-related crimes. There must be strong incentives to stay clear of drug trafficking, and prison sentences can motivate people to obey the law. We are a nation wedded to the prospect of equal justice for all. For laws to be effective, they must be seen as equitable. Punishment must be put on a par with the offense.

Drug-related crime -- as well as the price it extracts from our citizens -- is intolerable. Americans from every social and economic background, every racial and ethnic group, and every locale remain deeply concerned about the nexus between drugs, crime, and violence. We are taking steps to break the cycle of drug-related criminal activity and have initiated a "Break the Cycle" demonstration in Birmingham, Alabama. This program responds systematically to the problems of chronic drug use through the integrated application of testing, assessment, referral, treatment, supervision, criminal justice oversight, and graduated sanctions for non-compliance. The intent is to bring the individual back as a contributing member of the community. The program will be expanded to other locations.

Supporting Law Enforcement

We are a nation of laws. The philosophies embodied in the U.S. Constitution and expressed in our national values are steeped in high regard for the better nature of human beings. We are also a realistic and practical people. We know that there are among us predators who will target the weak and unprotected, the misguided and uninformed. Against this threat we have designed an entire justice system that protects the rights of both the individual and society.

Community Policing

Our police forces are the first line of defense against criminals. These men and women in uniform exhibit supreme dedication, and they suffer on a daily basis from the risks associated with tackling violent crime -- much of it induced by drugs. In 1996, 117 police officers were killed in the line of duty;10 162 were killed in 1995.11 In 1994, 3,168 police officers were assaulted with firearms; 1,513 were attacked with knives or other cutting instruments; 7,210 with other dangerous weapons; and 53,021 with personal weapons (e.g., hands, feet, head, teeth).12 We owe all law enforcement officers a vote of thanks for their professionalism and courage.

The more we can link law enforcement with local residents in positive ways that create trusting relationships, the more secure our communities will be. Community policing is an operational philosophy for neighborhood problem solving in which officers interact with residents on an ongoing basis in order to focus on matters of public concern. Law enforcement concentrates on issues that make citizens feel insecure. Resources provided by the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program are bringing 100,000 new police officers onto the streets. This addition will reinforce efforts in place that are already reducing the incidence of drug-related crime in America.

Integrating Federal, State, and Local Efforts

In unity there is strength. The more that agencies and operations reinforce one another, the more they share information and resources; the more they "deconflict" operations; isolate priorities; and focus energies across the spectrum of criminal activities; the more effective will be the outcome of separate activities. Nationally as well as regionally, various federal agencies, state organizations, and local activities have joined forces to achieve greater results.

Byrne Grants, for example, provide financial support to multi-jurisdictional task forces, demand-reduction education programs involving law enforcement officers, and other programs to control drug abuse and violent crime. Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) are reorganizing regions to respond more effectively to changing drug trafficking patterns and enhance communication and coordination. Within each region, the United States Attorneys and Special Agents-in-Charge address broader drug trafficking issues and formulate aggressive strategies for strengthening federal, state, and local law enforcement. Greater attention, expertise, and resources will be brought to bear against criminal organizations responsible for the majority of drugs and violence in our country. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms' Achilles Program is an important mechanism for fostering task force approaches to drug law enforcement.

Coordination is also facilitated by another federal initiative, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). This program designates geographic areas to which federal resources are allocated to link local, state, and federal drug enforcement efforts. Continued Department of Defense support of HIDTAs through personnel details, integration of National Guard counterdrug activities, and support of counterdrug activities along the southwest border is important to the success of this program. Properly targeted, HIDTA offers greater efficiency in countering illegal drug trade in local areas. HIDTA programs will be based on a logical, comprehensive methodology for prioritizing needs and working with other initiatives.

Disrupting Money Laundering

Drug trafficking organizations exist to make a profit. They cannot sustain operations without revenue. The laundering of drug profits, in local and world economies, can produce national economic results that often work to the detriment of industrial, manufacturing, and financial institutions. Huge drug profits infiltrate an economy, often making it less competitive in the world market. Resources will be directed toward identifying and disrupting flows of drug proceeds through the financial system, tracking illicit assets to their criminal sources, and confiscating ill-gained assets. These forfeitures deprive traffickers of illegal proceeds and aid in the destruction of criminal organizations. Law enforcement and regulatory agencies will work together and with the private sector to stop money laundering and prevent financial institutions from being used to move drug proceeds. Given the ever-increasing sophistication of drug traffickers in using digital telephony, high-tech communications, and encryption devices, our own operations will be integrated and enhanced.

Within the United States, federal agencies are operating in concert with state and local officials to streamline operations. Abroad, the United States is working through international agencies and bilateral and multilateral agreements as well as cooperative arrangements to disrupt money laundering schemes. The U.S. is also working through bilateral and multilateral initiatives to promote the adoption of effective anti-money laundering controls by other nations.

Applying Economic Sanctions Against Traffickers and Associates

The International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) is a useful tool for defeating drug traffickers. The President issued an IEEPA executive order in October 1995 imposing economic sanctions against Colombian drug cartels and those doing business with them. In the past year, an additional 276 businesses and individuals were identified as Specially-Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNTs) belonging to the Cali cartel. Currently, 359 foreign companies and individuals are denied access to the U.S. financial system and the benefits of trade with America under the provisions of the IEEPA Act. Colombia's banks have supported these U.S. actions by refusing services to SDNTs and closing their accounts.

Linking Criminal Justice and Treatment Systems

Drug use is pervasive among individuals entering the criminal justice system, which has been strained by high rates of recidivism among drug offenders. Approximately half of felony drug offenders on probation in 1986 were rearrested for another felony within three years.13 For parolees with histories of heroin and/or cocaine addiction, studies suggest that up to 75 percent return to drug use within ninety days of release.14 In a 1992 comparative study conducted in Delaware, inmates who received treatment in prison and during work release programs were 75 percent drug-free and 70 percent arrest-free after eighteen months. But 80 percent of the prisoners who did not receive treatment went back on drugs, and two out of three were arrested again.15

Drug treatment in the criminal justice setting can decrease drug use and criminal activity, reduce recidivism, and improve chances for subsequent employment while improving overall health and social conditions. Consequently, the 104th Congress passed legislation requiring states to drug test prisoners and parolees as a condition for receiving prison grants. States have until March 1, 1998 to develop and submit to the Attorney General comprehensive drug testing and sanction plans for prisoners and parolees. States that do not meet this requirement will be ineligible for prison funds.

The Strategy encourages drug treatment and education for prisoners, expanded use of drug courts that offer incentives for drug rehabilitation in lieu of incarceration, and integrated efforts to rid criminals of drug habits. The coercive power of the criminal justice system can be used to test and treat drug addicts arrested for committing crimes. Drug use while under supervision of the justice system should not be tolerated.

Expanding Alternatives to Incarceration

Alternative judicial processes have demonstrated that they can motivate non-violent offenders to abandon drug-related activities and lower recidivism rates. More than two hundred drug courts around the country and community programs like Treatment Accountability for Safer Communities are already helping non-violent offenders break the cycle of drugs and crime. These programs feature close supervision, mandatory drug testing and treatment, reinforced by escalating sanctions for offenders who fail to become drug-free. The programs promise to reduce incarceration costs while providing strong incentives to abide by the law. Such alternative approaches will be expanded.

Reducing the Number of Chronic Drug Users

Chronic drug users are at the heart of America's drug problem. Two-thirds of the nation's supply of cocaine is consumed by about 20 percent of the drug-using population.16 Chronic users maintain drug markets and keep drug traffickers in business. Not only are these drug users responsible for a disproportionate amount of drug-related crime, they are frequently vectors for the spread of infectious diseases like hepatitis, tuberculosis, and HIV. We have developed initiatives to identify chronic drug users, targeting "break-the-cycle" efforts on addicts caught up in the criminal justice system. By focusing on 3.6 million chronic drug users in America,17 we can lessen the national demand for drugs at the retail level while helping this suffering group recover.


Drug dependence is a chronic disorder that exacts an enormous cost on individuals, families, businesses, communities, and nations. Drug-dependent individuals have, to a certain extent, lost their ability to resist drugs, often resulting in self-destructive and criminal behavior. Effective treatment programs can help individuals end dependence on addictive drugs, thereby reducing consumption. In addition, such programs can reduce indirectly the consequences of addictive drug use on the rest of society.

Treatment options include therapeutic communities, pharmacotherapies, outpatient drug-free programs, inpatient hospitalization, therapy-based (or psychiatric inpatient) programs, twelve-step programs, and multi-modality programs. The effectiveness of each method is a function of the type of substance, individual history of abuse and treatment, personality, and social environment. Providing treatment for 3.6 million chronic users of illegal drugs is a compassionate and economically-sound proposition.

A 1992 California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs survey ("CALDATA" study) of the effectiveness, benefits, and cost of substance abuse treatment underscores this conclusion.18 The principal findings were that:

  • Treatment can generate a seven to one return on investment. The study estimated that the $209 million cost of providing treatment to 150,000 individuals generated an estimated $1.5 billion in savings (mostly due to reduction in crime).

  • Treatment reduces drug use. Illegal drug use by participants dropped by 40 percent as a result of treatment.

  • Treatment reduces drug-related illness. Hospitalization rates dropped by a third after treatment.

  • Post-treatment criminal activity correlates with the length of treatment programs. While overall criminal activity of surveyed individuals dropped by two-thirds after completion of treatment, the greater the time spent in a treatment program, the greater the reduction in individual criminal activity.

  • Treatment can be effective for all. All populations -- men and women, young and old, African-American, Hispanic, and white -- experienced generally equal treatment effectiveness for each type of program studied.

The 1992 CALDATA findings were corroborated by the 1996 National Treatment Improvement Evaluation Study's conclusions that:19

  • Treatment reduces drug use. Clients reported reducing drug use by about 50 percent in the year following treatment.

  • All types of treatment programs can be effective. Methadone maintenance programs, non-methadone outpatient programs, and both short and long-term residential programs demonstrated an ability to reduce drug use among participants.

  • Criminal activity declines after treatment. Reports of "beating someone up" decreased from 49.3 to 11 percent, and reports of arrests decreased from 48.2 to 17.2 percent comparing the year before with the year following treatment.

  • Health improves after treatment. Substance abuse-related medical visits decreased by more than 50 percent and in-patient mental health visits by more than 25 percent after treatment. So, too, did risk indicators of sexually-transmitted diseases.

  • Treatment improves individual well-being. Following treatment, employment rates increased while homelessness and welfare receipts both decreased.

Our challenge is to help the 3.6 million Americans who are chronic users of illegal drugs to overcome their dependency so that they can lead healthy and productive lives and so that the social consequences of illegal drug abuse are lessened. Initiatives to achieve these ends include:

Lowering Entry Barriers to Treatment Programs

The willingness of chronic drug users to undergo treatment is influenced by the availability of treatment programs, affordability of services, access to publicly-funded programs or medical coverage, personal motivation, family and employer support, and potential consequences of admitting a dependency problem. In many communities, the demand for help far exceeds treatment capacity. Being unable to enter treatment may discourage chronic users from maintaining a commitment to end drug dependency. In some cases, individuals are hesitant to start treatment for fear of losing jobs or custody of children. Parents may hesitate to enter a child into a program for fear of exposure to greater drug risks from associating with addicts using other substances.

Our challenge is to reduce these barriers so that increasing numbers of chronic users can begin treatment. Programs should capitalize on individual motivation to end drug dependency. Publicly-funded treatment must be accessible to people who cannot afford private programs or lack adequate medical services. Additional barriers should not be created as health care delivery systems change.

Addressing Needs of the Vulnerable

The health consequences of drug abuse are especially acute for pregnant women, children they are carrying, adolescents, racial and ethnic minorities, and people with co-occurring mental illnesses. Addiction is particularly devastating for the poor, who lack economic and familial safety nets. Treatment programs must address the special needs of these populations. States, communities, and health-care professionals are encouraged to integrate drug prevention and assessment programs in prenatal, pediatric, and adolescent medical practices or clinics. As a nation, we have a moral obligation to help the sick and indigent who are deprived of the fruits of American society. We must avoid the devastation that quickly descends on people least capable of dealing with drug dependency. As a society, we cannot afford to surrender any segment of our population to the nightmare of substance abuse.

Developing Anti-Cocaine Medications

Despite the clinical and therapeutic success of methadone for the treatment of opiate addiction, pharmacotherapies for cocaine dependency do not exist. Treatment options are currently limited to counseling, psychotherapy, participation in self-help groups, and medications to reduce the symptoms of cocaine intoxication and/or withdrawal. We need to continue research efforts to treat those addicted to cocaine.

Expanding Drug-Free Workplace Programs

American businesses realize that keeping illegal drugs out of the workplace makes economic sense. Drug testing and employee assistance programs -- when combined with supervisory concern, leadership, and support -- reduce drug use. Workers with the lowest participation in drug testing programs have the highest rates of drug usage. The food service sector, for example, has a 7.6 percent participation rate and a past-month drug use rate of 16.5 percent while the furniture/household appliances industry has a participation rate of 8.4 percent and a past-month drug use rate of 14.4 percent.20 Both fields have participation rates significantly lower than the national average and drug usage rates that are markedly higher. On the other hand, the Armed Forces have a participation rate of 100 percent and past-month use below 2 percent.

The Department of Transportation oversees the largest drug-free workplace program in the world, affecting approximately eight million U.S. workers.21 The program goes beyond testing. Any worker (primarily those in aviation, motor carrier, rail, transit, pipeline, and maritime) who tests positive for illegal drugs is referred to a substance abuse professional. The program's intent is to protect Americans by ensuring that people working in critical transportation functions do not endanger their own lives or others while under the influence of drugs. This program has become a model for non-regulated employers throughout this country and around the world.

American businesses increasingly recognize the human and economic logic of drug-free workplaces. The share of major U.S. firms that test for drugs rose to 81 percent in January 1996. According to the American Management Association, of firms with 2,500 or more employees, 95 percent have drug policies, and 91 percent have drug testing programs.22 Our challenge is to expand these programs to small businesses that employ 87 percent of all workers. One avenue could be the use of high-technology computer links between public-private partnerships and health promotion programs to educate small businesses and their employees. Labor organizations can assist by educating their members about the dangers of drug abuse and by encouraging them to stay drug-free.

Expanding Community Anti-Drug Efforts

The community-based anti-drug movement in this country is strong, with more than 4,300 coalitions already organized. These coalitions are significant partners for local, state, and federal agencies working to reduce drug use, especially among young people. Coalitions typically include schools, businesses, law enforcement agencies, social service organizations, faith communities, medical groups, local and county government, and youth groups.

Coalitions develop plans and programs, coordinating anti-drug efforts for the benefit of communities. In many locations, integrating efforts have created comprehensive prevention infrastructures that reduced drug use and its consequences. Community-based approaches to the drug problem will be supported. Such groups have the ability to mobilize community resources; inspire collective action; synchronize complementary prevention, treatment, and enforcement; and engender community pride.

Incorporating Religious Organizations

Experience and research suggest that individuals whose values involve faith systems can benefit more rapidly from treatment. One drug risk-reduction factor for youth is participation in religious programs. The government encourages religious organizations to join the national drug prevention effort. Inclusion of anti-drug messages in religious classes and parochial schools can complement secular counterdrug education. Religious organizations are urged to integrate efforts with community coalitions and nongovernmental organizations.


America's place in the world -- its status as global leader, economic giant, and bastion of democracy -- ensures that extraordinary numbers of people will come to our shores, air terminals, and borders on various modes of transport. According to the U.S. Customs Service, each year sixty million people enter our country on more than 675,000 commercial and private flights. Another six million come by sea and 370 million by land. In addition, 116 million vehicles cross the land borders with Canada and Mexico. More than 90,000 merchant and passenger ships dock at our ports, carrying more than nine million shipping containers and four hundred million tons of cargo, while another 157,000 smaller vessels visit our many coastal towns. Amid voluminous trade, drug traffickers seek to hide illegal substances that destroy our citizens and ruin neighborhoods. Through concerted effort, we can limit illegal drugs entering our country from abroad while maintaining open, free-flowing commerce, tourism, and international exchange that help make our nation great.

Preventing Drug Trafficking Across the Southwest Border

If a single geographic region were to be identified as a microcosm of America's drug problem, it would be the U.S. - Mexican border. Cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana all cross into the United States here, hidden among the eighty-four million cars, 232 million people, and 2.8 million trucks that the Customs Service estimates cross the thirty-eight ports of entry spanning nearly two thousand miles. American and Mexican ranchers often are harmed by violent bands of drug runners openly crossing their property. Border areas suffer from disproportionate levels of crime and violence due to the abundance of illegal drugs. The general population is terrified by increasingly sophisticated organizations that ply their vicious trade across what is otherwise a historic setting that marks the conflux of two great nations and their cultures.

The current situation must be changed. Significant reinforcements have been committed to the substantial resources already focused on the southwest border. Approximately a thousand Border Patrol agents and 150 Immigration and Naturalization inspectors, 625 U.S. Customs Service agents and inspectors, fifty Drug Enforcement agents, seventy FBI agents, and additional Deputy U.S. Marshals will be added in fiscal year 1997. Advanced technological equipment, sophisticated sensors, and long-range infrared night-vision devices have been installed near the border. A variety of intelligence agencies have been tracking the flow of illegal drugs, enhancing interdiction operations, and pursuing drug-trafficking organizations. The Southwest Border Initiative, Southwest Border Council, Southwest Border HIDTA, Joint Task Force-Six, OCDETF, and the Attorney General's Executive Committee and Operation Alliance have stepped up activities, expanding coordination with state and local agencies. Bilateral working groups have been established with Mexico to achieve the rule of law.

However, illegal drugs are still crossing the border. This tough problem is complicated by illegal immigration, corruption, and questions of jurisdiction, policy, and law. To meet these challenges, we are pursuing an overarching framework to complement individual inspection and interdiction operations, focus resources, provide timely and accurate information that can secure evidence for specific cases, and anticipate strategic and tactical activities of drug traffickers. We will also coordinate efforts among many agencies devoted to the issue, harness technologies in an integrative fashion so that one system complements the other, and work more closely with Mexicans for the common good.

Closing the Caribbean "Back Door"

The DEA estimates that the second-most-significant drug trafficking route into the U.S. is through the Caribbean, specifically Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico is a natural point of entry because of its central location amid major lines of commerce and transportation and the absence of customs inspections for domestic cargo moving between the island and U.S. mainland. The consequences of this trafficking have been devastating for Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and many island nations of the Caribbean. Cocaine sold in Puerto Rico is cheaper than anywhere else in the United States. Violent gangs control nearly a thousand drug-distribution points throughout the island and victimize more than three hundred public housing areas. Puerto Rico has the second highest per capita murder rate in the United States.

In response to the threat posed by international drug trafficking in the Caribbean, the United States established the Puerto Rico - U.S. Virgin Islands High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) in 1994. To combat drug trafficking and money laundering, HIDTA brings together twenty-six agencies and more than six hundred federal, state, and local personnel forming ten task forces and an intelligence coordination center. During FY '96, HIDTA participants arrested 417 individuals, confiscated 14,500 kilograms of cocaine, and seized eight million dollars in assets and currency.23

The United States Coast Guard and United States Customs Service have also worked to constrict this illegal drug route into the United States. Their operations feature expanded marine and air enforcement, more cargo examinations, and frequent searches of small vessels. From March 1 through December 31, 1996, the Customs Service's Operation Gateway produced the seizure of 28,507 pounds of cocaine, 3,060 pounds of marijuana, sixty-two pounds of heroin, and $2.2 million and 129 arrests in the Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands area.24 In the last three months of 1996, the Coast Guard seized seven vessels, 13,897 pounds of cocaine, forty pounds of heroin, and made nineteen arrests.25 Interdiction can help stop drugs from entering our country.

We continue to work closely with our Caribbean allies to guard the approaches to Puerto Rico and deny narcotraffickers safe haven anywhere in the region while complying with international law. We currently have bilateral enforcement agreements in place with sixteen countries in or bordering the Caribbean. Negotiations are underway with an additional six countries, and we are working to expand agreements that help protect island nations possessing small law-enforcement establishments from the onslaught of international criminal organizations that violate their sovereignty and corrupt their economies and democratic institutions. Multinational counterdrug operations in the Caribbean provide an additional force multiplier. For example, British, French, and Dutch Naval forces participate in fully coordinated operations helping to block smuggling routes out of South America.

Addressing Other Drug Entry Points

The greater our success at interrupting drug trafficking along any particular border, the more traffickers attempt to introduce illegal drugs elsewhere. South Florida, for example, continues to be a key site for drugs coming into the U.S. and for money moving out -- despite the successful disruption of the air bridge that brought cocaine during the last decade from Colombia to the southeastern United States. Mexican coastal ports are entry points for drugs being smuggled northward across our southwest border, necessitating interdiction operations on key trafficking routes through the eastern Pacific and western Caribbean. New York City remains the primary port of entry for Southeast Asian heroin. Ports in the Pacific Northwest and along the Pacific coast -- as well as the border with Canada and any airport that handles international cargo or passengers -- are vulnerable to drug trafficking.

Consequently, we must develop a comprehensive, coordinated capability that allows the federal government to focus resources in response to shifting drug-trafficking threats. We must be proactive in efforts to keep drug traffickers from penetrating our sovereign territory. Existing organizations and initiatives -- like the three Joint Inter-Agency Task Forces (East, West, South), the Domestic Air Interdiction Coordination Center, Joint Task Force-Six, and Operation Alliance, which address the southwest border problem, as well as HIDTAs and other cooperative interagency efforts -- must remain the building blocks for this effort.


Only sustained commitment can reduce the supply of illegal drugs. The basic principles of supply reduction are straightforward. A five-stage grower-to-user chain links the drug producer in a foreign land with the consumer in the United States. The stages are: cultivation, processing, transit, wholesale distribution, and retail sales on the street. The U.S. government's international drug control programs target the first three links in this chain: cultivation, processing, and transit. International drug control programs have demonstrated that they can be particularly effective when they focus on severing the chain at the source. When drug crops or synthetic drug laboratories are eliminated, fewer drugs enter the system. This approach is analogous to removing a tumor before it metastasizes.

Opposing international criminal organizations that traffic in drugs at all stages of their operation and in all their operating environments is essential. The global drug trade has spawned large trafficking organizations with an almost limitless capacity to subvert the economic and political systems of underdeveloped countries. In our own hemisphere, the two countries that have faced the longest struggle against drug traffickers -- Colombia and Mexico -- have been plagued by widespread drug corruption. Efforts to break these organizations must be supported by public information that depicts the true nature of drug traffickers, endorses the elements countering them, and supports the rule of law.

The success of our international drug control policies depends on the political will and institutional capability of other countries to implement programs that reduce and ultimately eliminate cultivation of illicit drug crops and suppress the production, trafficking, and abuse of illegal drugs. Consequently, we are convinced that our drug control programs must be complemented by efforts to strengthen democratic institutions in key drug producing and transit countries.

Encouraging Other Nations to Confront Drug Production and Trafficking

The Certification Process. One way to pressure foreign governments to stand up against drug trafficking organizations is through periodic public scrutiny of their counterdrug record. The U.S. government does so through the annual process of certifying the counterdrug performance of narcotics producing and transit countries. Performance is evaluated in terms of cooperation with U.S. efforts, or unilateral efforts to comply with the goals and objectives of the 1988 United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotics, Drugs, and Psychotropic Substances.

This annual certification process gives the President an international platform for candid, public evaluation of major drug source and transit countries. While denial of certification carries important foreign assistance sanctions as well as a mandatory U.S. vote against multilateral development banks lending money to such countries, the major sanction is public opprobrium at failing the standard. This process has proved increasingly effective. It has fostered the development of realistic performance benchmarks and increased cooperation in important countries.

Bilateral Cooperation with Mexico. The principal mechanism for counterdrug cooperation with Mexico is the High Level Contact Group on Drug Control formed in March 1996. This bilateral group of senior officials meets periodically while subordinate working groups are in continuous contact. The Contact Group on Drug Control operates at the cabinet level and has instituted a number of broad initiatives, including a shared assessment of the drug threat and a binational counterdrug strategy. Key elements of that strategy include: measures to strengthen border security, actions to ensure criminals cannot escape justice in one country by flight to another, improved information sharing, reduction of drug use in both countries, anti-money laundering initiatives, cooperation to interrupt drug shipments destined for both Mexico and the U.S., and concentration of law enforcement efforts on trafficking organizations that operate in both countries.

Progress, while not uniform across the board, has been significant. The criminal drug organizations that operate in both our countries are ruthless, violent, flexible, and defiant of national sovereignty. The corrupting power of thirty billion dollars of illegal drug money is an enormous threat to the democratic institutions of both Mexico and the United States. Notable successes include: the Mexican government's passage of important anti-crime legislation, U.S. training for anti-drug units of Mexican police and Armed Forces as well as in money laundering investigations for investigators and prosecutors from the Mexican Treasury and Attorney General's office. Mexico continues to implement one of the world's most successful drug crop eradication programs. Drug seizures by Mexican authorities increased significantly in 1996; heroin seizures were up 78 percent and cocaine seizures up 21 percent.

To build on these successes, we must continue working with our counterparts to insulate law enforcement organizations from corruption and build Mexican counterdrug capabilities. A major bilateral concern is the cross-border activity of Mexican trafficking organizations and their ability to hold Mexican authorities at bay. Finally, we must be cognizant of sovereignty concerns in this complex relationship as we broaden the bilateral counterdrug effort. Drug traffickers have developed complex infrastructures and multiple routes in Mexico over the better part of a decade. These criminal organizations can be pursued, but success will take a long-term commitment on the part of dedicated, honest, and courageous Mexican authorities and sustained, cooperative efforts by the United States.

Making Cocaine Less Available

Cocaine is currently our most dangerous illicit drug. It is responsible for more addiction, health problems, economic dislocation, and social costs than any other illegal substance. It is also more vulnerable to international supply reduction than other foreign-produced drugs. Our national efforts against coca cultivation and the production and trafficking of cocaine are guided by Presidential Decision Directive 14, the Western Hemisphere counterdrug strategy. U.S. anti-cocaine activities fall into the following three categories: reduction of cultivation, interdiction, and actions against trafficking organizations.

Reduction of Cultivation. Nearly all the cocaine consumed in the United States is produced from coca crops grown in Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru. In 1995, enough coca was grown on 214,800 hectares of land in these three countries to produce 780 metric tons of cocaine for the world market. Eighty percent of the cocaine in the United States comes from Peruvian coca crops.26 A top international drug policy priority is support for the efforts of Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru to reduce coca cultivation. Our forthcoming regional initiative, whose goal is nothing less than complete elimination within the next decade of cultivation of coca destined for illicit cocaine production, will focus on alternative economic development in Peru. These efforts will recognize that drug cultivation in source countries is an important means of employment and income for some of the poorest members of society. To be successful, drug crop reduction programs must include measures to resolve socio-economic factors that promote the cultivation of illegal drug crops.

Interdiction. Since 1993, global seizures averaged 270 metric tons of cocaine, leaving approximately five-hundred tons potentially available for consumption each year. U.S. cocaine seizures by themselves averaged 112 tons a year over the same period.27

Within South America, a sustained, U.S.- supported interdiction effort continues to disrupt the air, river, maritime, and land transportation of cocaine base from Bolivia and Peru to Colombia. By the end of 1996, Peru and Colombia seized or destroyed dozens of drug trafficker aircraft, resulting in a two-thirds reduction in the number of detected trafficker flights over the Andean ridge region compared with the number of flights detected before the denial program was launched in early 1995. As coca cultivation subsequently exceeded drug trafficker transportation capabilities, average coca prices in Peru dropped by 50 percent over the same time period. We have demonstrated that interdiction efforts in the source country zone can disrupt trafficking patterns significantly. Our challenges now are to work with host nations to: restrict further the air movement of coca products between and within Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, and Colombia; block drug traffickers from developing alternative river, ground, and maritime routes; and assist South American nations in preventing drug trafficking organizations from violating their sovereign air, land, and sea space.

In the "transit zone" of the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, and the eastern Pacific waters, U.S. interdiction seeks to prevent traffickers from moving cocaine. An effective transit zone interdiction program requires flexible, in-depth, intelligence-driven defenses. Drug traffickers are adaptable, and they will react to our successes by shifting routes and changing modes of transportation. We must be equally flexible and give the traffickers no quarter as we respond to their moves. This objective will require that we -- in concert with our regional allies -- maintain a "defense in depth," taking aggressive action in source countries, throughout the transit zone, and at our borders.

International coordination and cooperation are important components of our interdiction effort. U.S. interdiction agencies do not by themselves have sufficient resources to address the trafficking threat. Bilateral or multilateral agreements, sharing intelligence and information, and conducting combined operations with our allies can multiply the effectiveness of the regional interdiction effort. Improving the interdiction capabilities of committed nations will also increase the effectiveness of our transit zone efforts. Finally, technology and intelligence can help us employ limited assets against high pay-off targets.

Actions Against Trafficking Organizations. Even after the arrest of major Cali Mafia leaders, Colombian drug syndicates continue to be the preeminent cocaine producing and trafficking organizations. They purchase the majority of semi-finished cocaine base from Bolivian or Peruvian farmers. Along with Mexican poly-drug traffickers and others, they increasingly move the illicit drug to the United States and elsewhere. The power, wealth, and sophistication of Colombian, Mexican, and other drug syndicates pose enormous threats to governmental and judicial institutions in many Western hemisphere countries.

Our successes against these and other international criminal organizations have been increasing. U.S.-supported Colombian law enforcement efforts have resulted in the arrest or surrender of the top seven leaders of the Cali drug cartel. U.S. support for other nations helped disrupt and dismantle trafficking organizations, including the Jose Castrillon organization based in Colombia and Panama. This crime syndicate was responsible for the maritime shipment of several multi-ton loads of cocaine destined for the United States. While the sentences announced to date by the Colombian government have been inadequate considering the magnitude of the crimes committed, cocaine traffickers are operating in an increasingly hostile environment. Our international cocaine control strategy will continue to include an across-the-spectrum attack on these criminal organizations.

Making Heroin Less Available

Efforts against production and trafficking of heroin are guided by the President's heroin control policy of November 1995 (PDD-44). Potential global heroin production has increased about 60 percent in the past eight years to about 360 metric tons.28 Heroin is not just an American problem. U.S. demand (estimated between four and thirteen metric tons)29 is equivalent to only a fraction of that potential.

The heroin interdiction challenge is enormous. Central governments in the two major source countries, Afghanistan and Burma, have limited powers. U.S. access and influence there is also extremely limited. Trafficking organizations are highly cohesive and difficult to penetrate. They use multiple trafficking routes and methods. Heroin flows through East Asia, the Middle East, the Former Soviet Union, Nigeria, South Africa, and South America, following the paths of least resistance and avoiding law enforcement. Heroin is a low bulk, high value commodity. An individual courier traveling aboard a commercial airliner can use body-carry techniques and ingestion to conceal several million dollars worth of heroin. Larger multi-kilogram amounts have been found hidden in commercial cargo shipments. Consequently, the worldwide seizure of morphine base/heroin in 1995 consisted of only thirty-two metric tons while U.S. seizures were just 1.3 metric tons.30 The recent increase in heroin production in Colombia underscores the diffuse nature of the international heroin challenge. Just a few years ago, Colombia was an insignificant producer of heroin. Now, its potential heroin production (six tons in 1995)31 represents a significant portion of the estimated U.S. demand. South American heroin is being sold in the U.S. at higher purity levels and lower prices than South East Asian heroin to garner larger market shares, and is in some areas becoming an important source of heroin.32

The United States will work through diplomatic and public channels to promote international awareness of the heroin threat, help strengthen law enforcement efforts in heroin source and transit countries, bring cooperative law enforcement to bear against processing and trafficking, act against illegal financial systems that bankroll heroin trafficking activities, and promote the United Nations International Drug Control Program (UNDCP) and other multilateral and regional engagement in opium poppy and heroin control programs in source countries where U.S. bilateral influence is limited by political and security constraints. America will support continuing programs by Colombia and Mexico to eradicate opium poppy and will move promptly against any other illicit opium poppy cultivation encountered in the Western hemisphere.

Countering the Methamphetamine Threat

Methamphetamine abuse is a significant problem on the West Coast and in the Southwest and Midwest; it is also moving eastward.33 This drug is problematic because it is easily manufactured, inexpensive, and incredibly addictive. Methamphetamine is the "poor man's cocaine" and has the potential to assume national prominence if its use is not curtailed. Current law enforcement efforts against the production and distribution of methamphetamine are guided by the Department of Justice National Methamphetamine Strategy released in April 1996. This document serves as the basis for an expanded response that integrates treatment and prevention initiatives.

The principal foreign source of methamphetamine is Mexico. Mexican trafficking groups use existing cocaine smuggling networks to funnel methamphetamine into the United States. Through the High Level Contact Group on Drug Control, the United States will continue supporting Mexican government efforts to identify and destroy methamphetamine production, storage, or shipment activities and act against criminal organizations engaged in this traffic. The U.S. will also cooperate with other industrialized countries, the U.N. Drug Control Program, and multilateral organizations to limit international commerce in methamphetamine precursors and prevent illicit diversion or trafficking in domestic or foreign methamphetamines.

Domestically, the drug is produced in clandestine laboratories using toxic and highly explosive mixtures of hydriotic acid, phosphene gas, and red phosphorous. These chemicals are either smuggled into the country or illegally diverted from legitimate sources. The Methamphetamine Control Act of 1996 addressed this problem by controlling precursor chemicals and increasing criminal penalties for possession and distribution. Meth labs are mostly short-term, "one-batch" facilities commonly established in rural or sparsely populated areas to preclude detection as a result of the chemicals' odors. Nevertheless, federal and state lab seizures are increasing as a result of law enforcement attention to this emerging drug threat.

Measuring and Reducing Domestic Cannabis Cultivation

Marijuana remains the most-commonly-used illegal drug in the United States. Much of the marijuana smoked in the U.S. is cultivated domestically -- commercially, privately, outdoors, and indoors. However, we have no accurate estimate of the extent of domestic marijuana cultivation. Our domestic cannabis crop reduction efforts must be supported by accurate information about drug crop locations and potentials. The Office of National Drug Control Policy will coordinate the development of a domestic marijuana crop measurement program.

Controlling the Diversion of Drug-essential Chemicals

The production of illegal drugs requires enormous quantities of precursor chemicals. Clearly, drug production can be curtailed if the necessary precursor chemicals can be prevented from being diverted for this purpose. The importance of controlling chemicals has been internationally accepted. Article 12 of the 1988 United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance establishes the obligation for parties to the treaty to control their chemical commerce to prevent diversion to illicit drug manufacture. The Convention lists twenty-two chemicals as most necessary to drug manufacture and, therefore, subject to control.

International cooperation between enforcement and regulatory agencies is essential to the prevention of diversion of precursor chemicals. Information exchange to verify the legitimacy of proposed transactions in regulated chemicals is the key element to such cooperation. The United States continues to urge adoption of chemical control regimes by governments that do not have them. Our goal is to continue and expand the cooperation until sharing of information on proposed transactions in regulated chemicals is routine. We need to demonstrate that all sources of information must be queried, not only those in the exporting and importing countries, and that information sharing can occur without jeopardizing commercial confidentiality.


Streamlining the Counterdrug Effort

More than fifty federal departments and agencies are involved in the National Drug Control Program. In addition, state and local governments, public interest groups, and private corporations make major contributions to the national effort. The structures of government that bring together these diverse groups, interests, and agencies will vary from locality to locality and from specific drug-related issue to issue. Some aspects of the drug control effort involve the threat of international criminal organizations that have regional and local distribution and marketing affiliates in the United States. Other aspects of the problem require coordinated response by multiple organizations seeking to synchronize prevention, treatment, interdiction, and enforcement. In such instances, unity of effort can best be attained through organizing concepts that facilitate coordination.

The President's Drug Policy Council is a fine example of coordination at the national level. Formed in March 1996 by the President, the purpose of this cabinet-level organization is to underscore the importance of drug policy issues within the executive branch of the government. Meetings of the council are chaired by the President and convened to assess the direction of the national drug control program. The council now serves as the federal government's principal executive-level steering group.

Another example of a step in the right direction was the reorganization of our interdiction efforts by the National Interdiction Command and Control Plan of 1994. This plan created three geographically-oriented counterdrug Joint Interagency Task Forces (JIATFs) and the Domestic Air Interdiction Coordination Center (DAICC). The JIATFs employ U.S. Customs Service, U.S. Coast Guard, and Department of Defense operational assets in the conduct of interdiction operations in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, Pacific, and South America. The JIATFs coordinate and direct the detection, monitoring, and sorting of suspect drug-trafficking aircraft and vessels and hand off targets to appropriate law enforcement authorities for apprehension. The JIATFs allow operational assets from different agencies to participate in highly coordinated, seamless operations. They also promote the exploitation of the Department of Defense's sophisticated command, control, communications, and intelligence infrastructure. Other essential coordinating elements of our national counterdrug effort include the Department of Defense's Joint Task Force-Six and the multi-agency Operation Alliance. The former coordinates military support of federal, state, and local counterdrug efforts along the U.S.-Mexico border. The latter integrates the efforts of many agencies working to prevent the flow of illegal drugs across that border.

Restructuring Law Enforcement Counterdrug Information Coordination

Timely and accurate tactical information can allow trafficker and criminal organization vulnerabilities to be exploited. We have committed a great deal of effort and significant resources to ensure informed operations. In May of 1995, the Interdiction Intelligence Support Plan (IISP) was promulgated as an interagency plan to increase the quality and timeliness of available intelligence to the interdiction centers. The Anti-Drug Network (ADNET) was simultaneously established to serve as the communications backbone for the interdiction centers and supporting intelligence activities.

There is yet room for our law enforcement agencies to coordinate actions better and reinforce each other's efforts so that operations, investigations, and prosecutions are supported more effectively by intelligence and information sharing. While national-level law enforcement intelligence organizations like the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), and the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) are making useful contributions, their full potential has yet to be realized. At the local level, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) initiatives and Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) are improving federal, state, and local coordination, but timely tactical intelligence and information sharing can still be improved. Consequently, a review of the existing counterdrug intelligence architecture offers the potential to make better use of available resources, share (while protecting) information more rapidly, and fully integrate coverage. We must have a system that can detect, monitor, and track domestic drug production and trafficking activities across a spectrum of illegal activities that includes cultivation, movement of precursors, smuggling, wholesale and retail distribution, and laundering of profits.

Applying a Research, Development, and Technology Application Strategy

As the national drug control strategy takes a long-term approach, so must the research and development and technology application strategy that supports it. Over the years, individual agencies and scientific projects have aided the national drug control effort. The American scientific community has leveraged our efforts by producing useful data, creating effective sensing and monitoring systems, fielding high-speed data processing, and improving intelligence activities. Medical research has fostered understanding of the effects of drugs while improving prevention and treatment. Law enforcement and inspection technologies have enhanced police and port of entry operations, safeguarded officials involved in counterdrug activities, and constrained drug trafficking.

However, gaps remain in our knowledge and capabilities, which science can narrow. Biomedical and behavioral research can increase our understanding of addiction processes and help us develop better drug testing and demand reduction therapy. We hope to develop nonintrusive inspection systems; improved border surveillance, detection, monitoring, and apprehension capabilities; and integrated tactical operations at the federal, state, and local level. Drug traffickers are investing in advanced technology to improve their operations and defeat ours. A two-sided effort is in progress, and our opponents are well-financed.

Our advantage lies in the vast potential of a collective scientific capacity, both in terms of knowledge and the ability to organize, pool assets, interconnect technologies, and maintain sustained vision while realizing short-term, technology-aided results. A long-term strategy underwritten by a five-year budget offers the opportunity for maximum success. Key technologies can be researched, evaluated, adjusted, reevaluated, and field tested in coordination with established objectives. Data bases can be developed with greater specificity relating to the complex social and strategic questions of national drug control policy.

A comprehensive, integrated technology strategy promotes intelligent choices among projects. Properly designed, such a plan could help us determine when to take risks, where to avoid redundancies, and how to achieve mutual reinforcement among extant systems. Time frames and funding projections geared to the long-haul make for greater rationality in investment and development. Effectiveness in the short-term can be measured and judiciously considered in light of long-term goals.

Emerging technologies, research data, and scientific/medical breakthroughs offer great promise in achieving our desired goal. Integrated efforts, a visionary approach, and methodically-sound decisions are critical. A technology strategy is a necessary ingredient in the overall counterdrug effort.

Countering Attempts to Legalize Marijuana

The United States has the highest rate of drug use of any nation in the industrialized world.34 Approximately 50 percent of American youth will have used an illegal drug by the time they graduate from high school; the vast majority are using marijuana.35 This psychoactive substance has become almost a rite of passage for those who end up as cocaine and heroin users. A 1994 survey by the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that a twelve to seventeen-year-old who smokes marijuana is eighty-five times more likely to use cocaine than a non-marijuana smoking peer.36 Clearly, if we want to reduce the rate of teenage drug use and prevent American youth from using dangerous drugs like cocaine, we must continue to oppose efforts to legalize marijuana.

Marijuana is a Schedule I drug under the provisions of the Controlled Substance Act, Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. It is similarly controlled on an international basis through inclusion on Schedule I of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Marijuana is placed in Schedule I because it has a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use in the United States.

Nonetheless, our medical-scientific process should not close the door on any substance that could have therapeutic uses. Thus, in response to anecdotal claims about marijuana's medicinal effectiveness, the Office of National Drug Control Strategy is funding a comprehensive review of the drug by the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine. This review will consider scientific evidence of marijuana's pharmacological effects; the state of current scientific knowledge; the drug's psychic or physiological dependence liability; risks posed to public health by marijuana; its history and current pattern of abuse; and the scope, duration, and significance of abuse. The ultimate purpose of this review is to protect the American people by ensuring that science, not ideology, is the basis of drug control policy. The government has an obligation to ensure that regulatory systems do not prevent safe and effective medicines from being made quickly available to the sick. It also has a responsibility to protect the American people from unsafe, ineffective medicines.

Integrating Ideas, Concepts, and Strategies

In the national effort to counter the effects of illegal drugs and substance abuse, there has been no shortage of proposals, ideas, and papers. The plethora of studies is an indication of the degree to which the country is troubled by the issue and determined to confront it. As such, the energy displayed is a healthy and helpful approach to common goals.

However, such efforts would be more fruitful if coordinated. There is no room for parochialism in the endeavor to reduce illegal drugs and their consequence. Drug abuse is a national problem that must be solved through collective efforts. While argumentation among good people is merely ideas in the making, there comes a time when different perspectives must be synthesized and channeled into a cooperative venture.

This document constitutes the overall strategy for the nation's effort against drug abuse. It leaves room for growth, incorporation of new advances in science and technology, better operations, intellectual expansion, and logical rejection of well-intentioned but counterproductive activities. The National Drug Control Strategy will undoubtedly adapt over the years as conditions change. It will, however, organize our efforts toward the stated goals and objectives.


1. Lloyd Johnston, Monitoring the Future Study - 1996, press release.

2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Preliminary Estimates from the 1995 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse.

3. Lloyd Johnston, Monitoring the Future Study - 1996, press release.

4. Office on Smoking and Health, Preventing Tobacco Use Among Young People, A Report of the Surgeon General.

5. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Unpublished Data from the 1995 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse.

6. Ibid.

7. J.C. Merrill, K. Fox, S.R. Lewis, and G.E. Pulver, Cigarettes, Alcohol, Marijuana: Gateways to Illicit Drug Use.

8. National Parents' Resource Institute for Drug Education, Inc. (PRIDE). Pride 1995-96 National Summary Grades 6 through 12 (Atlanta, Ga.: PRIDE, August 1996).

9. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States; 1995: Uniform Crime Reports.

10. National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Press Release (Washington, D.C.: December 31, 1996).

11. National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Press Release (Washington, D.C.: February, 1996).

12. Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1994 Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, 1996).

13. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Recidivism of Felons on Probation 1986-1989 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, February, 1992).

14. President's Commission on Model State Drug Laws, Socioeconomic Evaluations of Addictions Treatment (Washington, D.C.: President's Commission on Model State Drug Laws, December 1993).

15. J.A. Inciardi, A Corrections-Based Continuum of Effective Drug Abuse Treatment (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, June 1996).

16. Rand Corporation, Modeling the Demand for Cocaine.

17. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, The Need for Delivery of Drug Abuse Services (Rockville, Md.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1995).

18. D.R. Gerstein, R.A. Johnson, H.J. Harwood, D. Fountain, N. Suter, and K. Malloy, Evaluating Recovery Services: The California Drug and Alcohol Treatment Assessment (CALDATA) (Sacramento, Calif.: California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, 1994).

19. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, The National Treatment Improvement Evaluation Study, Preliminary Report: The Persistent Effects of Substance Abuse Treatment - One Year Later (Rockville, Md.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, September 1996).

20. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Drug Use Among U.S. Workers: Prevalence and Trends by Occupation and Industry Categories (Rockville, Md.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, May 1996).

21. U.S. Department of Transportation, Drug Policy Office, personal communication (Washington, D.C.: January 1997).

22. American Management Association, 1996 American Management Survey on Workplace Drug Testing and Drug Abuse Policies: Summary of Key Findings (New York, N.Y.: American Management Association, 1996).

23. Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Island High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, Executive Committee Reports (San Juan, Puerto Rico: 1996).

24. U.S. Customs Service reporting on results of Operation Gateway (Washington, D.C.: January 1997).

25. U.S. Coast Guard reporting on results of Operation Frontier Shield (Washington, D.C.: January 1997).

26. National Narcotics Intelligence Consumers Committee, The NNICC Report 1995: the Supply of Illicit Drugs to the United States.

27. Ibid.

28. Ibid.

29. W. Rhodes, P. Scheiman, and K. Carlson, What America's Users Spend on Illegal Drugs, 1988-1991.

30. National Narcotics Intelligence Consumers Committee, The NNICC Report 1995: The Supply of Illicit Drugs to the United States.

31. Ibid.

32. Ibid.

33. National Institute of Justice, Drug Use Forecasting, Annual Report on Adult and Juvenile Arrestees 1995.

34. United Nations Economic and Social Council, Principles and Practice of Primary and Secondary Prevention and Demand Reduction Programmes (Vienna, Austria: U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs, April 1996).

35. Lloyd Johnston, Monitoring the Future Study - 1996, press release.

36. J.C. Merrill, K. Fox, S.R. Lewis, and G.E. Pulver, Cigarettes, Alcohol, Marijuana: Gateways to Illicit Drug Use.

Transmittal Letter | Foreword | Table of Contents
Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6