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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
December 11, 2008
President Bush Participates in Meeting on Drug Use Reduction
11:09 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Just had an extraordinary discussion with a group of our fellow citizens -- some are pastors, some are ex-cons, some are baseball players, some are docs, some are community activists -- all who've come together to talk about a comprehensive strategy to deal with drug use in America.
And our strategy is threefold: one, reduce demand, interdict supply, and then help people who have become addicts. And we're making progress. No question there's still work to do in America, but we are making progress. And one way to note the progress is this statistic: Since 2001, teenage use has declined by 25 percent. That means 900,000 fewer teens on drugs.
The strategy can be measured. The implementation requires understanding that grassroots activists -- for example, like the faith community -- can play an integral work in working alongside government to achieve our objectives. The Admiral here has -- Admiral Allen, Commandant of the Coast Guard, reported about our interdiction efforts -- that we've been making great progress at interdicting, for example, cocaine being trafficked primarily out of South America and Central America into our country.
And finally I am pleased that the Access to Recovery program and programs like that are vibrant and active, which basically says to an addict: If you so choose, you can redeem your health, redeem your money at a place of love in the faith community.
Lives are changing. People's lives are being saved. I say government is justice, government is law -- but government must not fear places of love. And so this has been a positive report and a great meeting, and I want to thank you all for coming. More importantly I want to thank you for being citizens, and not spectators -- people who have decided to do something about your personal lives, as well as the lives of those in your communities. It's the collective effort of thousands of social entrepreneurs that help make America a hopeful place.
There will be more work done after I'm out of here, but we have laid the foundation for a successful effort against drug use, drug supply, and helping those who have been addicted.
END 11:12 A.M. EST