Major Anti-Drug Effort is Unveiled! 

Major Anti-Drug Effort is Unveiled! 
Posted by FoM on February 09, 1999 at 07:51:23 PT

WASHINGTON Even as they announced an optimistic plan for combating drug abuse in the next decade, federal officials disclosed yesterday that they have seen an alarming new "explosion" of cocaine production in Colombia.
Cultivation of cocaine has jumped 26 percent in the past year in Colombia, with signs of an increase in opium production there as well, said Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, the White House drug czar.The trend has threatened to cut deeply into the dramatic gains made recently in stemming drug-trafficking in the Andean region, particularly in Peru and Bolivia, McCaffrey said at a news briefing.McCaffrey attributed the Colombian upturn in part to the fact that heavily armed paramilitary groups now effectively control 40 percent of the nation, tying the hands of President Andres Pastrana and his young administration.The general stressed, however, that Pastrana's administration had demonstrated "a tremendous sense of partnership" with the United States and a strong commitment to curtailing drug production.That sentiment could prove a key factor next month when it comes time for the Clinton administration to certify whether Colombia and other nations have cooperated in anti-narcotics efforts. Colombia's status was upgraded last year after two years of economic penalties.No reactionColombian officials had no immediate reaction yesterday to McCaffrey's comments.The Colombian issue also drew no mention from top Clinton administration officials at a White House ceremony as they presented a long-term plan for controlling drugs in the United States.Addressing several hundred supporters before a backdrop of antidrug displays, Vice President Gore and other officials stressed that the nation must not ease up in the drug war, despite recent gains in quelling drug use among young people and other problem groups."When drug dealers still roam our streets and rob our children of their dreams, and drug-related crime still ravages so many of our neighborhoods, we know that we have barely begun," Gore said.As part of $17.8 billion in antidrug funding proposed in President Clinton's recent budget plan, the National Drug Control Strategy seeks a 50 percent reduction in drug use and availability by 2007.Multipronged approachIt offers a multipronged approach through education, prosecution, treatment, interdiction and other means, and it establishes 97 "performance targets" to track how well those measures are working."We're going to hold ourselves to achieving absolute results," McCaffrey told the gathering.But some antidrug groups and Republican lawmakers were unimpressed, saying the White House's priorities are misplaced."More of the same failed policies" was the reaction from the Lindesmith Center, a drug research group based in New York.The group said federal officials should rely more heavily on proven treatment programs instead of pumping more money into a "bottomless pit" of failed programs, including a $195 million allotment this year for celebrity ads urging young people to stay off drugs.
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: