Source: Dallas Morning News Contact: http://www.dallasnews.com Pubdate: Wed, 25 Mar 1998 Author: Catalina Camia - The Dallas Morning News GINGRICH NAMES OWN ANTI-DRUG TASK FORCE WASHINGTON - House Speaker Newt Gingrich appointed his own anti-drug task force Tuesday, saying the Clinton administration's plans for combating the flow of illegal drugs and their use are inadequate. Texas Republicans Pete Sessions of Dallas, Kay Granger of Fort Worth and Henry Bonilla of San Antonio will serve on the 30-member task force. "In the end, drugs is an American problem," Mr. Gingrich, R-Ga., said. "If Americans weren't buying it, if our children weren't getting addicted, if we weren't providing the cash flow, we wouldn't have much drugs being developed in Colombia, Bolivia or Peru." A spokesman for White House drug czar Barry McCaffrey said the Clinton administration has a "realistic" plan aimed at reducing illegal drug use and availability by 50 percent. "He considers that a realistic and doable approach which is not designed to fit into an election cycle," said Bob Weiner, spokesman for the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Mr. Gingrich's proposal calls for a multidisciplinary approach over the next three years, including more money for interdiction and community-based education programs aimed at teenagers. He did not give specifics. This year, the Clinton administration plans to spend about $17.1 billion fighting drugs, which will go toward more Border Patrol agents, drug treatment programs for criminals, interdiction and efforts aimed at preventing drug use among young people. But Mr. Gingrich and other Republicans said the Clinton administration plans would result in too many people still using drugs at the end of 10 years. "We're not trying to pick a fight with the drug czar," said Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., chairman of the task force. "We want results. We think we can lick this problem in three years." The GOP task force has set two goals: to cut the flow of illegal drugs into the United States by 80 percent and their use by 40 percent. Mr. Gingrich said the panel will rewrite existing laws or craft new legislation as necessary and explore ideas such as training people in countries such as Colombia on the use of anti-drug strategies. Mr. Gingrich said the task force will also step up its oversight of the Clinton administration's anti-drug efforts. Next week, the House International Relations Committee will hold a hearing on Colombia's drug-fighting efforts. A congressional delegation will also visit Colombia, Peru, Chile and Bolivia in April to learn about their anti-drug programs.