HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Drug Czar Says Drug Abuse Has Declined
Pubdate: Sat, 10 Feb 2007
Source: Register-Guard, The (OR)
Copyright: 2007 The Register-Guard
Author: Joseph Frazier, The Associated Press
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Bookmark: (Oxycontin/Oxycodone)
Bookmark: (Walters, John)


Illegal drug use in the United States has dropped sharply since 2001, 
but abuse of prescription drugs remains a problem, the director of 
National Drug Control Policy said Friday.

John Walters said that President Bush's anti-drug plan for 2007-08 - 
which was released in Portland - is to reduce prescription drug abuse 
by 15 percent over three years. The administration ranks the problem 
second only to marijuana.

The plan singled out the pain reliever OxyContin as one of the 
prescription drugs most abused.

The strategy calls for more states to adopt prescription drug 
monitoring programs to prevent "doctor shopping" to get more drugs.

Seventeen states, including Oregon, lack such a program, but the 
Oregon Legislature is considering one.

The American Civil Liberties Union has questioned whether such 
programs violate doctor-patient confidentiality.

Walters said overall use of illegal drugs among young people is down 
23 percent from 2001, with 840,000 fewer teenagers using drugs now.

Since 2001, the survey showed drops of 50 percent for 
methamphetamines, 21 percent for steroids and 25 percent for 
marijuana among teenagers.

Walters credited drug testing for much of the decline and urged its 
expansion in schools and elsewhere.

He also said abuse among older people declined.

Walters said the data came from a survey done at the University of 
Michigan for the National Institute For Substance Abuse.

The administration report says about 19.7 million Americans reported 
using at least one illegal substance in the previous month.

Bush's program calls for a media campaign, nonpunitive random student 
drug testing and more local anti-drug coalitions.

It provides $12.9 billion for prevention, treatment and supply 
reduction campaigns. Walters said most of it is destined for 
communities to develop their own drug programs.

Walters said the number of small methamphetamine labs found in Oregon 
dropped by 87 percent from 2004 to 2006, the period in which Oregon 
became the first state to require a prescription for cold remedies 
containing pseudophedrine, a key ingredient in making meth- amphetamine.

In Washington, D.C, Bill Piper, director of affairs for the Drug 
Policy Alliance, called the strategy a "spin on the failure of the 
war on drugs." He said in a statement that drugs are as available as 
ever and that communities continue to be devastated and that related 
harms of addiction, overdose, and the spread of disease continue to mount.
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