Pubdate: Wed, 13 Feb 2002
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Copyright: 2002 San Jose Mercury News
Author: Seth Borenstein, Mercury News Washington Bureau
Bookmark: (Treatment)


WASHINGTON - Seeking to cut illegal drug use by 10 percent in two years, 
President Bush on Tuesday unveiled a new national drug policy that 
emphasizes treatment.

Instead of the "Just Say No" campaign of the 1980s, the Bush administration 
is pushing a policy that in essence adds: "Please Get Help."

The president is proposing to spend $357 million more next year on 
anti-drug efforts. He wants two-thirds of that -- $224 million -- to go 
toward drug treatment and research.

In total, the president is seeking to spend $19.2 billion to fight illegal 
drugs, a problem he said "wreaks havoc on the very fabric that provides 
stability for our society."

In fighting drugs, many advocate strict punishment for offenders while 
others favor treatment. Republicans usually push for prison time for 
offenders, but Bush, in unveiling his anti-drug strategy, took a different 
tack Tuesday.

"We must aggressively promote drug treatment," Bush said. "Because a nation 
that is tough on drugs must also be compassionate to those addicted to 
drugs. Today, there are 3.9 million drug users in America who need, but who 
did not receive, help. And we've got to do something about that. We've got 
to help."

This will mean an increase in residential treatment facilities, perhaps 
even in neighborhoods that could initially resist them, said White House 
drug policy director John Walters.

"It's a challenge to our compassion," Walters said. He also emphasized 
continued treatment for recovering addicts to make sure they stay drug-free.

"We're really pleased that it is focusing more on treatment," said Pat 
Ford-Roegner, executive director of the Association of Addiction 
Professionals, a trade group for counselors based in Alexandria, Va. "We 
certainly have a president at this point who understands the struggle with 
addiction. I do think personal experience is important to realize that a 
lot more needs to be done. This is an issue that faces every American family."

During the 2000 campaign, Bush admitted being a heavy social drinker in the 
past. In 1986, the morning after his 40th birthday, he quit.

More recently, the president's niece, Noelle Bush, daughter of Florida Gov. 
Jeb Bush, checked into a drug-treatment program after being arrested on 
charges of illegally trying to obtain prescription drugs.

The Bush anti-drug strategy also includes prevention and efforts to stop 
drug trafficking.

"We're determined to limit drug supply, to reduce demand and to provide 
addicts with effective and compassionate drug treatment," the president 
said from the East Room. "Each of these steps is essential and they're 

In trying to limit demand, the president argued drug abusers, especially 
buyers of heroin originating in Afghanistan and cocaine from Colombia, were 
helping to finance terrorism.

That anti-drug argument featured prominently in an ad campaign that debuted 
during the Super Bowl.

Those ads -- featuring terrorists who attest that their money comes from 
drug users -- will continue for four to eight weeks at a cost of $10 
million, Walters said. That's part of a $180 million anti-drug advertising 

The president also proposed a new $5 million program to train parents in 
drug prevention skills.

To continue a long fight to try to keep foreign drugs out of the United 
States, the president proposed $731 million to help Bolivia, Brazil, 
Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Venezuela switch from growing drugs to 
agriculture -- an increase of $106 million over the current budget.

The president's policy has two goals: Reduce drug use by 10 percent after 
two years compared with the year 2000, and cut drug use by 25 percent after 
five years. Walters said the administration would test itself with an 
annual survey of U.S. drug use.
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MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager