To the Congress of the United
I am pleased to transmit the 1997 National Drug Control Strategy
to the Congress. This strategy renews our bipartisan commitment to
reducing drug abuse and its destructive consequences. It reflects the combined
and coordinated Federal effort that is directed by National Drug Control
Policy Director Barry McCaffrey and includes every department and over
50 agencies. It enlists all State and local leaders from across the country
who must share in the responsibility to protect our children and all citizens
from the scourge of illegal drugs.
In the 1996 National Drug Control Strategy, we set forth the
basis of a coherent, rational, long-term national effort to reduce illicit
drug use and its consequences. Building upon that framework, the 1997
National Drug Control Strategy adopts a 10-year national drug-control
strategy that includes quantifiable measures of effectiveness. The use
of a long-term strategy, with annual reports to the Congress and consistent
outreach to the American people on our progress, will allow us to execute
a dynamic, comprehensive plan for the Nation and will help us to achieve
We know from the past decade of Federal drug control efforts that progress
in achieving our goals will not occur overnight. But our success in reducing
casual drug use over the last decade demonstrates that drug abuse is not
an incurable social ill. Thanks to the bipartisan efforts of the Congress
and the past three administrations, combined with broad-based efforts of
citizens and communities throughout the United States, we have made tremendous
progress since the 1970’s in reducing drug use.
Nonetheless, we are deeply concerned about the rising trend of drug
use by young Americans. While overall use of drugs in the United States
has fallen dramatically -- by half in 15 years -- adolescent drug abuse
continues to rise. That is why the number one goal of our strategy is to
motivate America’s youth to reject illegal drugs and substance abuse.
Our strategy contains programs that will help youth to recognize the
terrible risks associated with the use of illegal substances. The cornerstone
of this effort will be our national media campaign that will target our
youth with a consistent anti-drug message. But government cannot do this
job alone. We challenge the national media and entertainment industry to
join us -- by renouncing the glamorization of drug abuse and realistically
portraying its consequences.
All Americans must accept responsibility to teach young people that
drugs are wrong, drugs are illegal, and drugs are deadly. We must renew
our commitment to the drug prevention strategies that deter first-time
drug use and halt the progression from alcohol and tobacco use to illicit
While we continue to teach our children the dangers of drugs, we must
also increase the safety of our citizens by substantially reducing drug-related
crime and violence. At the beginning of my Administration, we set out to
change this country’s approach to crime by putting more police officers
on our streets, taking guns out of the hands of criminals and juveniles,
and breaking the back of violent street gangs. We are making a difference.
For the fifth year in a row serious crime in this country has declined.
This is the longest period of decline in over 25 years. But our work is
far from done and we must continue to move in the right direction.
More than half of all individuals brought into the Nation’s criminal
justice systems have substance abuse problems. Unless we also break the
cycle of drugs and violence, criminal addicts will end up back on the street,
committing more crimes, and back in the criminal justice system, still
hooked on drugs. The criminal justice system should reduce drug demand
-- not prolong or tolerate it. Our strategy implements testing and sanctions
through coerced abstinence as a way to reduce the level of drug use in
the population of offenders under criminal justice supervision, and thereby
reduce the level of other criminal behavior.
Our strategy supports the expansion of drug-free workplaces, which have
proven so successful and we will continue to seek more effective, efficient,
and accessible drug treatment to ensure that we are responsive to emerging
We must continue to shield America’s air, land, and sea frontiers from
the drug threat. By devoting more resources to protecting the Southwest
border than ever before, we are increasing drug seizures, stopping drug
smugglers, and disrupting major drug trafficking operations. We must continue
our interdiction efforts, which have greatly disrupted the trafficking
patterns of cocaine smugglers and have blocked the free flow of cocaine
through the western Caribbean into Florida and the Southeast.
Our comprehensive effort to reduce the drug flow cannot be limited to
seizing drugs as they enter the United States. We must persist in our efforts
to break foreign and domestic sources of supply. We know that by working
with source and transit nations, we can greatly reduce foreign supply.
International criminal narcotics organizations are a threat to our national
security. But if we target these networks, we can dismantle them -- as
we did the Cali Cartel.
We will continue to oppose all calls for the legalization of illicit
drugs. Our vigilance is needed now more than ever. We will continue to
ensure that all Americans have access to safe and effective medicine. However,
the current drug legalization movement sends the wrong message to our children.
It undermines the concerted efforts of parents, educators, businesses,
elected leaders, community groups, and others to achieve a healthy, drug-free
I am confident that the national challenge of drug abuse can be met
by extending our strategic vision into the future, educating citizens,
treating addiction, and seizing the initiative in dealing with criminals
who traffic not only in illegal drugs but in human misery and lost lives.
Every year drug abuse kills 14,000 Americans and costs taxpayers nearly
$70 billion. Drug abuse fuels spouse and child abuse, property and violent
crime, the incarceration of young men and women, the spread of AIDS, workplace
and motor vehicle accidents, and absenteeism in the work force.
For our children’s sake and the sake of this Nation, this menace must
be confronted through a rational, coherent, cooperative, and long-range
strategy. I ask the Congress to join me in a partnership to carry out this
national strategy to reduce illegal drug use and its devastating impact
THE WHITE HOUSE