Pubdate: Mon, 22 Nov 2010
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2010 The Toronto Star


OTTAWA - America's drug czar says the United States can slow the flow
of illegal narcotics from Canada by getting its own drug problem under

Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug
Control Policy, says getting more Americans off drugs will help reduce
the glut of ecstasy, meth, heroin, marijuana and cocaine crossing the
Canada-U.S. border.

Kerlikowske, a former police chief in Seattle and Buffalo, said guns
and drugs still move freely across the Canada-U.S. border.

"Smuggling of narcotics can often go into the United States, and in
turn the flow of firearms into Canada, and I don't think that has
changed in the many years I've spent along the border, unfortunately,"
Kerlikowske said.

"I think that's why it's also so important to deal with the demand,
because if we reduce our own consumption in the United States, if we
prevent young people in Canada and the United States from using drugs,
it will really help."

Canada has become a major trafficking hub for meth and the club drug

The U.S. Department of Justice blames Asian drug gangs based in Canada
for a resurgence of ecstasy use. The department says the amount of
ecstasy seized at the Canada-U.S. border increased 594 per cent
between 2004 and 2009.

Many of these drugs enter the States from Ontario and British

U.S. border agents seized more than $9 million worth of ecstasy pills
last month near the British Columbia-Washington state border.
Smugglers stuffed 470,000 pills in backpacks they stashed in the bush.
The U.S. Border Patrol called the ecstasy bust their biggest ever.

American authorities also seized more heroin, marijuana and cocaine in
recent years.

"We have an incredible 6,000-mile border, which is primarily open,"
Kerlikowske said.

"We know that law enforcement can work harder, and has done that, and
exchanged more information."

American lawmakers want the White House to crack down on drugs coming
from Canada. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill this
summer that would require Kerlikowske to give Congress a plan to fight
drug smuggling at the northern border. A companion bill is with the
Senate judiciary committee.

In Canada, the federal government launched an anti-drug campaign last
week aimed at teenagers. The initiative features ads on television and
social media websites, such as Facebook.

On Monday, a federally funded agency unveiled its new, anti-drug
guide. The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse calls its guidelines a
one-stop resource for schools, families and community workers.

The head of the centre, Michel Perron, said the guide sets a benchmark
against which other drug-prevention programs can be measured.

"There are a lot of well-intentioned programs out there - doesn't mean
that they're necessarily good," Perron said. "What this does is help
us establish good programming."

Kerlikowske made his first visit to Canada on Monday for a series of
meetings in Ottawa and to speak to the Centre on Substance Abuse.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt