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

Message to the Congress of the United States

I am pleased to transmit the 2002 National Drug Control Strategy, consistent with the Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998 (21 U.S.C. 1705).

Illegal drug use threatens everything that is good about our country. It can break the bonds between parents and children. It can turn productive citizens into addicts, and it can transform schools into places of violence and chaos. Internationally, it finances the work of terrorists who use drug profits to fund their murderous work. Our fight against illegal drug use is a fight for our children's future, for struggling democracies, and against terrorism.

We have made progress in the past. From 1985 to 1992, drug use among high school seniors dropped each year. Progress was steady and, over time, dramatic. However, in recent years we have lost ground. This Strategy represents the first step in the return of the fight against drugs to the center of our national agenda. We must do this for one great moral reason: over time, drugs rob men, women, and children of their dignity and of their character.

We acknowledge that drug use among our young people is at unacceptably high levels. As a Nation, we know how to teach character, and how to dissuade children from ever using illegal drugs. We need to act on that knowledge.

This Strategy also seeks to expand the drug treatment system, while recognizing that even the best treatment program cannot help a drug user who does not seek its assistance. The Strategy also recognizes the vital role of law enforcement and interdiction programs, while focusing on the importance of attacking the drug trade's key vulnerabilities.

Previous Strategies have enjoyed bipartisan political and funding support in the Congress. I ask for your continued support in this critical endeavor.

February 12, 2002.

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