(Meanwhile) Drug Czar Announces Youth Drug Use Still On The Rise, Advocates More Funding

Highlights from a semi-annual White House report on drug use trends indicate that adolescent drug use remains on the rise, announced Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey at a Tuesday press conference. The full report, Pulse Check: National Trends in Drug Abuse, will be released this summer.

McCaffrey used the forum to encourage Congress to approve a proposed $175 million dollar anti-drug media campaign aimed at adolescents. The money would pay for the purchase of broadcast, print, billboard, and Internet messages designed to keep adolescents away from drugs. The Clinton administration estimates that the campaign will reach 90 percent of all youths aged 9 to 17 with an anti-drug message at least four times a week.

McCaffrey confirmed that the federally supported media campaign will not target alcohol and tobacco use by young people despite evidence that adolescents consume both drugs at far higher levels than they do marijuana, the most commonly used illicit drug by youngsters.

The Drug Czar also announced that his office will put out a $400,000 contract to develop a more comprehensive anti-drug campaign on the Internet. The announcement came just days after The New York Times featured a front page story entitled: “A Drug Culture Flourishes on the Internet.” The article alleged that drug-tolerant messages on the Internet are undercutting the Government’s anti-drug policies.

Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director of The NORML Foundation, responded that almost every federal health agency and anti-drug organization such as The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA), Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), and others already have Internet capability and active websites. “This appropriation is yet another example of gross government excess in the War on Drugs,” he said.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751.