Pubdate: Tue, 09 Feb 1999
Source: Dayton Daily News (OH)


* The goal is to reduce the size of the nation's drug problem in half
by 2007.

WASHINGTON - Hammering home the need for a drug-control strategy that
measures success and failure, the Clinton administration is announcing
a five-part plan designed to cut the size of the nation's drug
problem in half by 2007.

In a three-volume report to Congress, White House drug policy director
Barry McCaffrey said drugs cost the country more than 14,000 lives
annually, despite a nationwide effort that includes close to $18
billion spent this year by the federal government.

President Clinton said that while "there is some encouraging progress
in the struggle against drugs, ... the social costs of drug use
continue to climb."

In a message to Congress, Clinton said that among the positive signs
are a growing view among young people that drugs are risky and a
continuing decline in cocaine production overseas.

"Studies demonstrate that when our children understand the dangers of
drugs, their rates of drug use drop," said Clinton.

The five parts of the administration plan are educating children,
decreasing the addicted population, breaking the cycle of drugs and
crime, securing the nation's borders from drugs and reducing the
supply of drugs.

The blend of strategies is aimed at reducing the use and availability
of drugs by 50 percent by 2007, 25 percent by 2002. Achieving the goal
would mean just 3 percent of the U.S. household population aged 12 and
over would be using illegal drugs. The current figure is 6.4 percent.
In 1979, the rate was near 15  percent.

Vice President Al Gore said "this strategy takes us into the next
century with a goal of dramatic reductions in the supply and demand
for drugs and a real chance of giving our children drug-free
communities in which to grow up."

With Clinton attending the funeral of Jordan's King Hussein, formal
presentation of the plan Monday was being handled by Gore and
McCaffrey. Advance copies were made available Sunday evening.

A major piece of the drug-control effort: an advertising campaign that
generates more than $195 million a year in matching contributions from
media companies.

"The strategy seeks to involve parents, coaches, mentors, teachers,
clergy and other role models in a broad prevention campaign," said
McCaffrey, head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

A cornerstone of the strategy is accountability for the wide array of
current anti-drug programs, with boosts for those that work and the
ability to identify swiftly and repair those that aren't producing

"In the past, Congress had been critical because there were no
specific measurements for success," said Bob Weiner, a spokesman for
McCaffrey. "There was some real heat in the government" resisting
demands for accountability, but "no longer do we only measure the
people working the issue and the dollars spent on it. Now you've got
to prove bang for the buck."

The goals for the period ending in 2007 are to reduce the rate of
crime associated with drug trafficking and use by 30 percent, and
reducing the health and social costs associated with drugs by 25 percent.

McCaffrey also wants to expand alternatives to jail for drug users -
an approach based on studies showing that prisoners who get treatment
are far less likely to commit new crimes than those who don't.

"Efforts to break the cycle of drugs and crime will pay for themselves
through reduction in prison costs, social costs associated with drugs
and crime and through the money no longer wasted on purchase of

drugs," according to the new drug-control strategy.

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