Tags: Bush | Unveils | Anti-Drug | Strategy

Bush Unveils Anti-Drug Strategy

Tuesday, 12 February 2002 12:00 AM

"Illegal drug use threatens everything that is good about our country," he said in a letter accompanying his proposal to Congress. "We have made progress in the past. ... 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."

According to the University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future Survey, one out of every two teenagers has taken illegal drugs by 12th grade. Some 26 percent of eighth-graders reported trying illicit substances.

Bush's new program features a $10 million increase in funding for the expanded Drug Free Communities Support Program and $5 million for a new Parents Drug Corps, all part of enlisting parents and communities in helping steer children away from drugs.

Treatment features prominently. For 2003 the administration proposes $3.8 billion for treatment, an increase of more than 6 percent over 2002.

The White House said the funding included a $100 million increase in treatment spending for 2003 as part of a plan to add $1.6 billion over five years. The budget request adds $50 million to be targeted to areas with the greatest need.

"The vast majority of the millions of people who need drug treatment are in denial about their addiction," the White House said. "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."

One area cited by the administration for its success is the drug court system used in Florida, which helps first-time offenders with treatment and rehabilitation.

Noelle Bush, the president's 24-year-old niece, daughter of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, is a possible candidate for drug court. She is undergoing treatment after her arrest in late January while trying to obtain the anti-anxiety drug Xanax with a fraudulent prescription.

The president's plan also includes $2.3 billion for drug interdiction, an increase of 10 percent over the previous year's funding. New moves will be taken to free prisons of illicit drugs. The administration is also requesting $731 million for fighting narcotics production and trafficking in Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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Illegal drug use threatens everything that is good about our country, he said in a letter accompanying his proposal to Congress. We have made progress in the past. ... However, in recent years we have lost ground. This strategy represents the first step in the return of...
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Tuesday, 12 February 2002 12:00 AM
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