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 Home > News & Policies > February 2002

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 12, 2002

The President's National Drug Control Strategy

Today's Presidential Action:

President Bush will unveil his new National Drug Control Strategy, which sets clear and specific national goals for reducing drug use in America to save thousands of young lives. The President's National Drug Control Strategy is based on three core principles:

  • Stopping drug use before it starts
  • Healing America's drug users
  • Disrupting the market

The President's National Drug Control Strategy seeks to reduce use of illegal drugs by 10 percent over 2 years, and 25 percent over 5 years. These goals apply both to drug use among young Americans (12-17 age group) and among adults.

Background on the National Drug Control Strategy:

Drug use among young people has stabilized but still remains close to all-time highs. One out of every two teenagers has tried an illegal drug by twelfth grade, according to the University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future Survey. Twenty-six percent of eighth graders reported having tried illegal drugs. Unfortunately, too many Americans who are dependent on drugs are not receiving the treatment they need.

While some have argued that the national will to fight against substance abuse has eroded, President Bush believes the time has come to re-energize the national movement against illegal drugs. The President's National Drug Control Strategy argues we can make up lost ground in the fight against drugs by applying the lessons of our recent history -- emphasizing a balance between supply and demand reduction efforts.

The President's National Drug Control Strategy is based on three core principles:

  • Stopping drug use before it starts
  • Healing America's drug users
  • Disrupting the market

  • Stopping Drug Use Before It Starts: Every American can play an important role in the fight against illegal drugs through education and community action. In homes, schools, places of worship, the workplace, and civic and social organizations, Americans must set norms that reaffirm the values of responsibility and good citizenship while dismissing the notion that drug use is consistent with individual freedom. The National Drug Control Strategy ties national leadership with community-level action to help recreate the formula that helped America succeed against drugs in the past. The President's budget backs up this goal with a $10 million increase in funding for the expanded Drug-Free Communities Support Program, along with providing $ 5 million for a new Parents Drug Corps.

  • Healing America's Drug Users: The vast majority of the millions of people who need drug treatment are in denial about their addiction. Getting people into treatment -- including programs that call upon the power of faith -- will require us to create a new climate of "compassionate coercion," which begins with family, friends, employers, and the community. Compassionate coercion also uses the criminal justice system to get people into treatment. Americans must begin to confront drug use -- and therefore drug users -- honestly and directly. We must encourage those in need to enter and remain in drug treatment. The President's National Drug Control Strategy envisions making drug treatment available to many more Americans who need it.

  • Overall, for 2003, the Administration proposes $3.8 billion for drug treatment, an increase of more than 6 percent over 2002. This includes a $100 million increase in treatment spending for 2003 as part of a plan to add $1.6 billion over five years. Getting treatment resources where they are needed requires us to target that spending. This budget asks that $50 million of new treatment funding be targeted to areas with greatest need.

  • Disrupting the Market: The demand for drugs tends to vary with their price and availability. Disrupting this market relationship provides policymakers with a clear lever to reduce use. Domestically, attacking the economic basis of the drug trade involves the cooperative, combined efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement.

  • To help secure our borders, the President's budget includes $2.3 billion for drug interdiction, an increase of over 10 percent from 2002.

  • Internationally, the Bush Administration will continue to target the supply of illegal drugs in the source countries. The Administration is requesting $731 million in dedicated funds in 2003 for the Andean Counterdrug Initiative to be applied in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.

    President Bush's Drug Budget -- Setting Clear Goals and Implementing Needed Reforms

  • The National Drug Control Strategy concedes that management of our drug fighting institutions has not been as effective as it could be, and proposes a new way of presenting and managing the drug control budget. The budget has partly been based on imperfect estimation techniques that gauge the portion of a program related to drug control. Under the new approach, all drug programs will tie directly to actual line items in agency budgets -- establishing clearer lines of authority and accountability for results.

  • Overall, the President's 2003 Budget includes $19.2 billion for drug control.