U.S. Drug Czar Says Abuse is Everyone's Problem

U.S. Drug Czar Says Abuse is Everyone's Problem
Posted by FoM on February 18, 2000 at 08:31:11 PT
By John Hopkins, The Virginian-Pilot 
Source: PilotOnline
A true view of illegal drug use in Hampton Roads, and the nation, requires a mirror, as millions of Americans continue to deny that it's their problem, said retired Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, the nation's drug czar.It is, perhaps, easier to say it's a black or poor person's problem, he said.
McCaffrey offered a portrait of the nation's illegal drug problem to an audience of several hundred Thursday night at the Norfolk Airport Hilton. The 57-year-old director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy was in Norfolk to address the World Affairs Council of Greater Hampton Roads.He spoke on ``The Challenge of Illegal Drugs -- National and International Perspectives.'' The picture most people have of illegal drug users may be far from reality, he said.``The lowest rate of drug use in American society are African Americans, who use less alcohol, cigarettes, heroin, crack cocaine, et cetera than other racial groups,'' McCaffrey told the audience.``I mention that to you because all of us are dealing in our minds with denial. . . So you and I would like to say the drug problem in America is minority people or poor people, crazy people or city people. But it's somebody other than my people, and that just isn't the case.''McCaffrey praised the use of drug courts, noting their presence in Norfolk and Newport News since 1998. Internationally, he saw more cooperation between foreign governments to address the flow of illegal drugs.The drug problem in much of the world is far worse than in America, which has experienced a significant drop in use, he said. For example, there are 810,000 heroin addicts in America, he said. In Pakistan, there are 3 million. The cocaine use rates in Venezuela and Rio de Janeiro are worse than in Miami, he said.Still, there are millions in this country who need help, both in the nation's prisons and once they leave them. ``If you go to most of these urban and rural environments around America and watch who is buying drugs, it's a Catholic priest, an orthopedic surgeon, a cheerleader in her little costume, as well as black people, brown people, old people, whatever. It's an American problem,'' he said.McCaffrey, confirmed as the nation's drug czar in 1996, is a member of the president's Cabinet. The West Point graduate served two combat tours in Vietnam and was the youngest and most decorated four-star Army general.He was wounded three times and received three Purple Hearts and two Silver Stars for extraordinary heroism and valor.Prior to his appointment to the White House post, he was commander-in-chief of the U.S. Armed Forces Southern Command, coordinating national security operations in Latin America. NorfolkReach John Hopkins at 446-2793 or at jhopkins pilotonline.comPublished: February 18, 2000 Copyright 2000, Landmark Communications Inc.Cannabis News Search & Archives On Barry McCaffrey:
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