Source: Associated Press
Pubdate: Sat, 14 Feb 1998
Author:  Donna Abu-Nasr
Editors note: The plan, called the '1998 National Drug Control Strategy' is
online at:


WASHINGTON (AP) - President Clinton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich sparred
over drug policy in separate radio addresses Saturday, the president laying
out plans to reduce illegal drug use by 50 percent in the next decade, the
speaker ridiculing the proposal as a ``hodgepodge of half-steps and half-

Gingrich said he will press a resolution in the House urging Clinton and
White House drug policy chief Barry McCaffrey to withdraw the plan, which
he described as ``the definition of failure.''

``In the Civil War it took just four years to save the Union and abolish
slavery,'' Gingrich scoffed.

In his weekly radio address, the president said although the number of
Americans using drugs has fallen by 50 percent since 1979, it should be cut
in half again over the next decade.

But before outlining his proposal, Clinton stressed that the fight against
drugs ``must be waged and won at kitchen tables all across America.''

``Even the world's most thorough anti-drug strategy won't ever do the job
unless all of us pass on the same clear and simple message to our children:
Drugs are wrong, drugs are dangerous, and drugs can kill you,'' Clinton said.

His plan, portions of which already were disclosed by McCaffrey, includes
expanded prevention education, employment of an additional 1,000 Border
Patrol officers and 100 Drug Enforcement Administration agents, completion
of the hiring of 100,000 new community police officers and expanded drug
testing and treatment among prisoners and parolees.

In a follow-up news conference, McCaffrey said the government alone cannot
solve the national drug problem. ``We look forward to working with the
Congress, state and local government and the private sector to forge a
bipartisan and truly national response to the drug problem,'' McCaffrey said.

As he spoke, however, Gingrich, R-Ga., speaking in the GOP's weekly radio
address, accused the president of neglecting the narcotics issue for five
years, and as a consequence allowing drug use among teen-agers to rise by
70 percent over that period.

He said World War II was won four years after the United States joined the
Allied cause, and yet Clinton's new drug-fighting schedule prescribes more
than twice that long.

``This president would have us believe that with all of the resources,
ingenuity, dedication and passion of the American people, we can't even get
halfway to victory in the war on drugs until the year 2007 - nine full
years from now,'' the speaker said. ``That is not success. That is the
definition of failure. ... We cannot accept this administration's proposed
timetable for defeat.''

``I insist that the president and his drug czar (McCaffrey) withdraw their
so- called drug plan and its hodgepodge of half-steps and half-truths and
bring us back a real plan to tackle the drug crisis,'' Gingrich said.

He said both men should follow get-tough policies used by Republican mayors
such as Rudolph Guiliani of New York City.

Gingrich said the Republican-run Congress would pass legislation that

Helping communities build anti-drug coalitions.

Giving parents anti-drug information.

Providing market incentives so businesses will create drug-free workplaces.

Establishing a national clearinghouse for anti-drug information.

He did not provide specific dollar amounts or other figures.

The administration's drug-fighting plan is to be funded through a $17.1
billion drug-control budget request for next year, a 6.8 percent increase.

About $195 million of the initiative is earmarked for an anti-drug media
campaign aimed at children. An additional $146 million would go for
programs to curb underage smoking, while $50 million would be set aside to
pay for 1,300 counselors at middle schools.

Other proposed spending includes:

85 million for the prison drug treatment programs.

A $75.4 million increase in the Defense Department's budget for
drug-fighting in the Caribbean, Mexico and South America.

49 million for the National Institutes of Health to expand research on drug
and underage alcohol use.

24.5 million to hire the new Drug Enforcement Administration special
agents, who would target methamphetamine sales and production.

Copyright 1997 The Associated Press.