Inside Politics Partial Transcripts 

Inside Politics Partial Transcripts 
Posted by FoM on March 21, 2001 at 20:20:10 PT
Governor Gary Johnson vs. Barry McCaffrey
Source: CNN
Coming up next, the movie "Traffic" spurs again the debate over the war on drugs. WOODRUFF: Three out of four Americans say they believe the country is losing the war on drugs. A new survey by the Pew research group shows the same number, 74 percent, believe we will never be able to solve the problem of drugs coming into the country because the demand is so high. 
Almost as many people, 68 percent, say Latin American countries will never be able to control drug trafficking on their end. The war on drugs spread to the big screen this with the Oscar nominated movie "Traffic." The film deals with all sides of the drug battle, from a White House drug policy director, to drug users, to members of a drug cartel. To talk more about U.S. policy on illegal drugs, we turn to former Clinton administration drug policy director Barry McCaffrey, and the governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson. Although having some audio difficulties with Governor Johnson, we hope to get to him in just a moment. Let me start with you, General McCaffrey, what right now, in a nutshell, how do you describe the state of the American war on drugs? BARRY MCCAFFREY, FORMER CLINTON DRUG POLICY DIRECTOR: Well, first of all, Judy, many of us have tried to shift the metaphor to a cancer affecting American communities. Drug use in America is down dramatically, by more than half since 1979. Adolescent drug use in the last two years is down 21 percent. A lot of the numbers are moving in the right direction because we have put huge new resources into prevention, education and treatment with bipartisan support out of Congress. People like Senator Pete Domenici and a brilliant young Congressman Heather Wilson out in New Mexico have been part of the solution. So, we do believe if we stay on focus for the next decade, drug use, which today is down to around 6 percent from around 14 percent, will drop even further. This is a problem of shaping youth attitudes, and then providing effective drug treatment to the five million chronic addicts in America. WOODRUFF: Well, how does that square, then, with the fact, as I understand it, that two-thirds of federal drug dollars right now, go to law enforcement and not treatment and prevention? MCCAFFREY: Well, you know, there's a lot of mischief in these numbers, and we shouldn't argue about facts. The facts of the matter are in the last -- since FY 96, we've increased the prevention education budget by 55 percent; drug treatments up by 35 percent. The research budget for Doctor Alan Leshner over in the National Institute of Drug Abuse is now over 600,000 million bucks. Drug courts have gone from a dozen to almost 800. So, we think we're moving in the right direction and we're dismayed by the kind of, to be blunt, irresponsible thinking that I am hearing coming out of Governor Johnson. WOODRUFF: Well, Governor Johnson, I know you're able to hear now. We may have a delay in having you respond to this. How do you respond to what I know -- I believe you just heard Barry McCaffrey say. GOV. GARY JOHNSON (R), NEW MEXICO: You know what, I actually -- I actually got cut out of what most of what he did say. But kind of the gist of it is that we really do have a disagreement here. I don't think that you can continue to arrest 1.6 million people a year in this country on drug-related crime, and I didn't hear the statistics on how many users they figure that they have, but if you do the math, I think that they're saying there are 10 million, 14 million users. I reject the notion that they're arrested one out of 10 users in this country a year, meaning there a lot more people that are using drugs than what they say. And fundamentally, I'm under the belief that it is not criminal to smoke marijuana in the confines of your own home, doing no harm to anybody, arguably, other than yourself. The line I think that we need to draw here is the line that we've drawn with responsible alcohol use. And that is, you have a drink, that's OK. But you have a drink, you get in the car and you drive the car, now you have crossed over the line to criminal behavior. I think that we need to apply those same rules when it comes to marijuana use. We need to adopt harm reduction strategies regarding these other drugs and by no...(CROSSTALK) WOODRUFF: Let me...JOHNSON: ... no figment of the imagination is this something that we're winning. This is a war against ourselves. There are 80 million Americans who have done illegal drugs. I happen to be one of them and but for the grace of God, I'm not behind bars and give the federal government enough time and essentially, they're going to arrest and incarcerate everybody in this country. WOODRUFF: General McCaffrey... MCCAFFREY: How's that? WOODRUFF: .. why is that not a reasonable proposition, the notion that drug should be made, marijuana, at least should be made legal? MCCAFFREY: Well, you know, look, in the end of the day, I think some of the suppositions are sort of silly. We've got two million people behind bars in America. It Is ridiculous to assume that there is any significant number there for simple possession of marijuana. If you're in the federal prison system right now, you got arrested for more than 200 kilograms on average. You know, Governor Johnson has been trying to legalize the simple possession of heroin. The problem with these drugs is not that they're illegal, but that they change the neurochemistry of brain function. You end with dependence and tolerance and then you end up unemployed and HIV and hepatitis C. So, I think a lot of us say, look, let's focus one children. Let's reduce exposure, adolescent gateway behavior, and then we certainly need to take those chronic addicts and get them into effective drug treatment that's linked into the criminal justice system. There has to be a reward and the punishment to get these suffering people into effective treatment. WOODRUFF: Governor Johnson, you hear Barry McCaffrey saying the focus needs to be on prevention, on treatment, on continuing in what he says is the direction being pursued now. JOHNSON: Actually, Judy, I heard all of that. So, you know, I had a visit from the Zurich chief of police here in Albuquerque about three months ago. And interestingly, what they do in Zurich is they give away free heroin. Now, this is the chief of police from Zurich, and he says hey, I've been in law enforcement all of my life. All of my friends are law enforcement. When they came out with free heroin in Zurich and the idea was that, again, heroin -- the heroin addict would have to get a prescription. They would go to a clinic. There wouldn't be anymore hepatitis C, no more HIV, no more overdose, less violent crime, less property crime. That was the whole idea behind this. Fewer people behind bars, nonviolent criminals. He said we could have not been more opposed to this strategy because this was opposite of what we have been doing, been led to believe would be effective. He said I am here to tell you, and am I chief of police of Zurich, I am here to tell you that this program has exceeded anybody's wildest expectations. It has made Zurich a better place to live. So, my point is is that we need to manage this problem in a different way. We have heroin addicts, and the problem that the drug czar has and that everyone -- that the policy national policy has is that they assume, for example, that the tens of millions of Americans, every single one of them that smoke marijuana, for example, belong in rehabilitation and that's simply not true. What they fail to recognize is that most people, 90 percent of the people that smoke marijuana, smoke marijuana like other people have cocktails in the evening. It's something that they do. They don't belong in rehabilitation. They don't have a problem. They certainly have a problem today because it's criminal. If they are arrested, they are going to go to jail and I just -- I have to take exception out of the 1.6 million arrests, 800,000 of those arrests are for marijuana. Half of those arrests are Hispanic. So, this is terribly discriminatory on top of everything else. WOODRUFF: Gentlemen, I wish we had more time. Barry McCaffrey, a very brief response... MCCAFFREY: Well, I just wanted to say he needs to listen to his own district attorneys, his own law enforcement officers, not the Swiss. I mean, I think some of the Swiss policies are disgusting. New Mexico now has the highest heroin overdose rate of any state in the country. There are terrible problems of compulsive drug use. (CROSSTALK) MCCAFFREY: Lots of us believe that effective drug treatment is really what most of us are trying to do -- trying to achieve. JOHNSON: ... that we currently have that they're using products and needles that are dirty, and that's put on us by prohibition. WOODRUFF: We are going to have to leave it there, but I do want to thank you both very much for being with us, and I hope that we can return to the subject again very soon. MCCAFFREY: Indeed, thanks, Judy. WOODRUFF: Governor Johnson, we thank you for joining us and we apologize about the sound difficulty there. We'll try to get that JOHNSON: You know, I'm sorry, too. I wish I could have heard more of what Mr. McCaffrey was saying. Thank you for having me on. WOODRUFF: We were able to hear most your argument. Barry McCaffrey, thank you as well. Gentlemen, thank you both.When INSIDE POLITICS returns, a cease-fire in Macedonia. The latest on the conflict and the U.S. involvement.(COMMERCIAL BREAK)Source: CNN (US Web)Published: March 21, 2001Copyright: 2001 Cable News Network, Inc. Contact: Forum: Website Feedback: Related Article:Ex-Drug Czar, 'Puff Daddy Johnson' Square Off Articles - Governor Gary Johnson 
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