Source: Associated Press
Pubdate: Fri, 10 Jul 1998


WASHINGTON (AP) -- For all the cultural and legal differences, "the problem
is the same'' for countries fighting illegal drugs, the government's drug
policy director said Friday as he prepared for a European trip to share

Retired Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey will visit major European cities to
underscore the need for international cooperation on combating drugs and to
look at European treatment and prevention programs.

McCaffrey leaves Saturday for Sweden, the first leg of his eight-day tour.
He will make stops in Portugal, Austria, the Netherlands, Switzerland and

"I'm going to Europe to learn about a common problem and to also share the
kinds of strategies that we're trying to build to deal with the U.S.
population,'' he said.

"We all understand that none of us are precisely the same culture or
historical context or legal context,'' added McCaffrey. "The common thread
running throughout this visit is that the problem is the same ... drug
consumption and the terrible damage to humans, to their families, to their

McCaffrey said two highlights of his trip will be a visit to the
headquarters of the United Nations Drug Control Program in Vienna, Austria,
where he will exchange views with U.N. officials on global drug
cooperation, and to Lisbon, Portugal, where he will visit the European
Monitoring Center.

In Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands McCaffrey will tour drug
treatment facilities.

He said he wanted to learn from Swedish officials how to effectively
package treatment to help the 4 million chronic addicts in the United States.

"We've not yet built the infrastructure required to handle that problem in
a more rational way,'' he said. "It's one of the major shortcomings in the
United States.''

Asked whether he plans to drop by coffee shops in the Netherlands which
openly sell marijuana and hashish, McCaffrey responded: "Coffee shops would
be a bad photo op. I'm not sure there's much to be learned by watching
somebody smoking pot.''

McCaffrey will wrap up his visit with a brief stop in London on July 18. 

- ---
Checked-by: Mike Gogulski