For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 27, 2004
Embargoed Until Delivery 06 A.M. EST Radio Address of the President to the Nation the President
Saturday, February 28, 2004
Good Morning. for Many Years, Illegal Drug Use
Has Been a Serious Problem Facing Our Country. Drugs Cost People
Their Savings and Their Health, and Rob Children of Their Promise. My
Administration Is Taking Action to Confront This Danger. We Have
Pursued An Ambitious, Focused Strategy to Cut Demand for Drugs At
Home, Interdict Supplies of Drugs Abroad, and Treat More Addicts Who
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. For many years, illegal drug use has been a serious problem facing our country. Drugs cost people their savings and their health, and rob children of their promise. My administration is taking action to confront this danger. We have pursued an ambitious, focused strategy to cut demand for drugs at home, interdict supplies of drugs abroad, and treat more addicts who seek help.
In 2002, I set a goal to reduce illegal drug use by 10 percent
over two years, and by 25 percent over five years. This Monday, we
will release the annual National Drug Control Strategy, which shows
the impressive progress we have made. Youth drug use declined 11
percent between 2001 and 2003, meaning 400,000 fewer young people
drugs. These results exceeded our goal, and proved that our hard
is paying off.
This year, we will expand our strategy so that we can make even
greater progress in the fight against drugs. The best way to cut
use is to cut demand for drugs at the ground level. So my budget
includes a $10-million increase for drug-free communities, a
common-sense prevention program that supports local coalitions
to stop young people from using drugs.
Research shows that teenagers who abstain from drugs are
unlikely to start using them later in life. So I have asked
to provide an additional $23 million for high schools who want to
develop and carry out drug testing programs. Random drug testing
gives students a strong answer to the social pressure to try
It helps schools identify those using drugs so they can intervene
counseling and treatment before experiments turn into addictions.
We've seen the positive results of drug testing across the
country. Just two years after Hunterdon Central Regional High
in New Jersey began its testing program, drug use had declined
significantly throughout the school. Hunterdon's principal
the program's effect this way: "We have never seen a prevention
curriculum that affected the numbers this substantially. We
had a tool that was making a large difference."
As we reduce demand for drugs, we're also preventing drug
supplies from entering our country. Our military and law
personnel are targeting the world's most dangerous drug trafficking
networks. We are dismantling these organizations and putting their
leaders in jail. And by working with governments across our
hemisphere, we are drying up the world's supply of illegal drugs at
Finally, we are taking steps to help those who have fallen into
the destructive cycle of addiction. Drug dependence undermines
productivity, as well as moral conviction and devastates millions
families each year.
Some addicts recognize their problem and want to change, but
cannot afford access to professional care. To help men and women
these, I launched an initiative called Access to Recovery. This
program will help thousands of Americans get the treatment they
And because I know a good way to change a person's behavior is to
change their heart, faith-based treatment programs will always be
option. Congress has provided $100 million for this life-saving
program. And this year, I have asked to double that amount.
The progress reported in this year's Drug Control Strategy is
encouraging. Our goals are ambitious, and we have seen they can be
achieved. Now we will build on the improvement of the past two
And we will continue working toward a society in which all citizens
can lead a life of independence and purpose, free from the
influence of drugs.
Thank you for listening.