Drug Czar: Gov. Undermining Drug War

Drug Czar: Gov. Undermining Drug War
Posted by FoM on October 08, 1999 at 07:01:52 PT
By Michael Coleman, Journal Staff Writer
Source: ABQ Journal
The United States is winning the war on drugs, but Gov. Gary Johnson has undermined the effort with his high-profile support of drug legalization, U.S. drug czar Barry McCaffrey said Thursday during a visit to Albuquerque. 
McCaffrey, a retired four-star Army general who heads the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, spent the day meeting with New Mexico law officers, drug-treatment workers and the news media. The drug chief said he came to New Mexico to explain national drug strategy, not to criticize the governor. But he repeatedly voiced frustration with Johnson's calls for the legalization of drugs such as marijuana and heroin. Johnson has consistently condemned drug use as a bad choice, but he says legalizing drugs would reduce use because money spent on law enforcement could be used instead for prevention and treatment. McCaffrey called Johnson's drug stance irresponsible. "He's not dealing with the same drug-abuse problem I see and the sheriffs see and the drug treatment community sees," McCaffrey said during a midmorning meeting with news editors. "He is sending a terrible message to young people." McCaffrey said New Mexico children are citing the governor's legalization stance as a reason to believe drug use is acceptable. "They are saying marijuana is OK because the governor said it was OK," McCaffrey said. McCaffrey said schoolchildren have begun calling the governor "Puff Daddy Johnson." "I don't know what he means by Puff Daddy Johnson," the governor replied at a news conference Thursday in Santa Fe. "If by saying Puff Daddy he is bringing attention, which he is, to this issue, thank you, Gen. McCaffrey." Johnson said he will continue his push for a legalization debate, despite criticism from McCaffrey, fellow politicians and others. McCaffrey said Johnson's contention that the drug war is a failure is wrong. He said overall drug use in the United States has declined by 50 percent since 1979 and that casual cocaine use is down 70 percent since 1985. He also said drug use by children between 8 and 12 years old decreased by 13 percent last year. At a luncheon hosted by the Rotary Club of Albuquerque Del Sol, police escorted several protesters from the banquet room after they began chanting "Hey McCaffrey, stop the war," and other statements during the retired general's speech. When an audience member questioned his position on medicinal marijuana, McCaffrey said he doesn't support it because there is no conclusive evidence that it works. He suggested the medicinal marijuana debate is a smokescreen for wide-scale legalization. "Smoked dope is not medicine; it's dangerous for the chronically ill and pregnant women," McCaffrey said. "At the end of the day, I think it's a crock." McCaffrey said the national drug strategy relies on a combination of education, treatment and law enforcement. Keeping drugs illegal preserves the stigma attached to drug use, he said. "The higher the rate of social disapproval, the better your drug-prevention programs work and the less kids are likely to use," McCaffrey said. He said the national policy focuses heavily on youth education. McCaffrey said if children steer clear of drugs until their late teens, chances are they will never become drug abusers. "The most dangerous drug abuser is a 12-year-old kid smoking pot on the weekends, because 10 years from now that kid will be New Mexico's drug problem," McCaffrey said. "Prevention-based programming -- that's the heart and soul of it. You've got to get kids from age 9 to 18 where you minimize or delay their exposure to gateway drug-using behavior -- and that means pot, booze and cigarettes." McCaffrey blasted the governor for vetoing $2.6 million for drug treatment over the past five years. He said Johnson fails to understand that the drug war must be fought on several fronts. "The governor is not integrating prevention, treatment and law enforcement in a rational way," McCaffrey said. But Johnson said legalizing drugs would free up billions of dollars in law enforcement money that could be used for prevention and treatment. "There is no question that you would be looking at a healthier society as a result of legalization, control of drugs, education surrounding drugs," Johnson said. The Associated Press contributed to this report. Friday, October 8, 1999 Copyright © 1997, 1998, 1999 Albuquerque JournalDrug Czar Visits ABQ, Attacks Governorís Drug Plan-10/07/99
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Comment #1 posted by Dankhank on October 08, 1999 at 09:43:53 PT:
Liar ...........
A practiced liar is trying to stop progress ...The evil Drug Czar is at it again ...Don't let him get away with it ...Tell the Truth ...Keep the pressure up ......Fight the Fight 
Hemp n Stuff
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