THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release January 4, 2001
PRESS BRIEFING BY
DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY
GENERAL BARRY MCCAFFREY;
DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY,
DR. DONALD VEREEN;
AND CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE OFFICE OF DRUG CONTROL POLICY
The James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
11:15 A.M. EST
MR. DIRINGER: Good morning. As you know, today we are releasing
the 2001 Annual Report on the National Drug Control Strategy. This is the
final annual report on the administration's antidrug efforts. We'll have a
statement from the President on the report out a little later.
And here right now to brief you and answer your questions, we
have Barry McCaffrey, Director of the Office of National Drug Control
Policy. Joining Director McCaffrey, Dr. Donald Vereen, Deputy Director;
Janet Crist, Chief of Staff; and Bob Weiner, Chief of Press Relations for
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Well, let me make a few brief opening
remarks, and begin by thanking Dr. Don Vereen, my Deputy, and Janet Crist
for joining me. The three of us have been the corporate leadership of
ONDCP for the last several years, and I want to publicly thank them for
their contribution, their leadership.
Don Vereen, many of you are aware, is one of our nationally
ranked experts on drug abuse. He came over from the National Institute of
Drug Abuse to join me. He is a Harvard trained public health professional,
a physician, a psychiatrist, and his principal contribution is to raise the
aggregate IQ in ONDCP. And I thank him for his help.
Janet Crist came to join me five years ago as Chief of Staff.
She's really been the chief operating officer; was a career foreign service
officer, and has been enormously helpful in the last seven years.
Let me, if I may, just articulate what we're doing today. We're
releasing several documents that may be of help in better understanding the
drug issue. And clearly the most important of these is to release the
second, in accordance with the new 1998 legislation, annual report on the
National Drug Strategy.
We did have an annual drug strategy each year. We've changed the
law; it's now a 5-to-10-year operative conceptual framework. We're
required by law now to inform Congress what results we have achieved with
the resources they've given us. And so we put this report in front of the
American people today; it's available on our website. And there are
associated documents that you will also see released in the coming days,
one of which is the Annual Report on the Counter-drug Research and
Development Blueprint Plan.
We had to have some coherent way of bringing together the many
facets of scientific investigation, not just in the obviously areas of drug
treatment and prevention research, but also support for law enforcement,
interdiction, et cetera.
We're also putting out today the National Drug Control Strategy
Update on the High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program. We are today
designating two new so-called HIDTAs, one in Nevada and the other in
Florida. There are now 28 of these designated areas. The program is
almost $200 million a year. It's an attempt to bring coherent support that
brings together local, state and federal law enforcement with modest
amounts of federal dollars to particularly provide better intelligence and
We're also putting out today I think a very useful paper -- it's
going to be part of the presidential library -- January '93 to December
2000 -- we've tried to chronicle and document what the Office of National
Drug Control Policy has accomplished in the last eight years, both during
my tenure and Lee Brown prior to me.
And then, finally, I think you'll find this helpful -- we're all
looking forward to Salt Lake City and the Winter Olympics -- we're putting
out today the report on the first White House Task Force on Drug Use in
Sports. We had a superb event in Salt Lake City December 7th; we brought
together all the principal players, the U.S. Olympic Committee, the Salt
Lake Olympic Committee, the Worldwide Anti-doping Agency, the new Frank
Shorter-chaired U.S. anti-doping agency. And we talked about the whole
notion of how do we reduce the enormous damage done to young athletes,
elite athletes, in national and international competition through the use
of performance-enhancing drugs. And I offer that document for your
Let me make seven quick comments that I think you can glean out
of the second annual report on where we are on drugs. A lot remains to be
done. There is no question that we're still looking at a U.S. society in
which 6 percent of us last month used an illegal drug; 14 million
Americans, 52,000 dead a year, $110 billion in damages.
And many of us would argue that if you examine almost any social,
medical, legal or international problem that faces us, the 270 million of
us in this country that at the heart and soul of it will be the chronic
abuse of illegal drugs, as well as alcohol. And, oh, by the way, this
situation is dynamic, it changes, it's not static. When we talk about our
children today we're worried about new drugs that they've been inadequately
We're seeing the widespread abuse of MDMA, a drug called Ecstacy,
that's now across the country. It started in the Netherlands, in Belgium.
It was an East Coast drug and now it's widespread, explosive increase in
exposure among our children. And they think it's harmless. They think
it's a "hug drug." It's a dance all night, feel good drug. And yet, the
National Institute of Drug Abuse, Dr. Leshner, is assuring us that
science-based examination suggests that this drug may have permanent
impairment of neurochemical function of the brain, never mind the
possibility of dropping dead the first time you use it.
We're also seeing widespread use now of these
performance-enhancing drugs. In particular, steroid use among young people
went up sharply last year. This is a drug with devastating implications
and potential in its impact on young Americans, who may be using it to get
that slightly ripped look, who think it's going to improve their chance of
being selected for Little League baseball or high school diving or track.
So it's not just NCAA or professional athletes. We're talking about
widespread exposure of our young people to performance-enhancing drugs.
Seven comments: Where do we think we are after putting enormous
new resources into this effort? And I say new resources -- the FY'96
budget was $13.5 billion; the FY2000 budget is $19.2 billion. So
bipartisan support out of Congress has put significant new resources into
Disproportionately, we've put that in prevention and education
and treatment. Secretary Donna Shalala has a 55-percent increase in
prevention funding. There's now $2.78 billion in drug treatment. There's
been an enormous explosion in the kind of programs that Attorney General
Janet Reno and Secretary Shalala have jointly worked -- for example, the
drug court system, which has gone from a dozen to more than 700.
We think one of the most important things we've done, though, in
the last several years, with the administration support, is to establish a
consensus that we needed a comprehensive response. There had to be a
strategy. There could not be a single focus on either interdiction or
treatment or prevention. You had to do it all, and you had to have
feedback that told you what was working and what wasn't.
Secondly, we think we have reversed the increasing adolescent
drug use which began -- attitudes began shifting around 1990; drug use
started up in 1992. It went up dramatically for several years. That has
now leveled out, and we've seen in the last couple years significant,
statistically valid declines in drug use.
And more importantly, it's not just the household survey
suggesting a 21-percent reduction in two years. It's the associated
studies -- for example, Jim Burke, Partnership for a Drug-Free America, and
their excellent work on youth attitudes, which are responding, we believe,
over time to this science-based drug prevention program.
Third, and I think something that is inadequate, but we have made
major efforts to change the stigma associated with drug treatment. Look,
there's 5 million of us as Americans who are chronically addicted to
illegal drugs. You know, we do huge damage to our communities, our
families, our employees -- many chronic drug users are employed -- they do
incalculable economic damage. And we think we're changing that around.
We're trying to get at the whole notion that beginning drug use
is a choice, but once you're chronically addicted, you're dealing with
something that is a neurochemical change to brain behavior. An effective
drug treatment based on science-based protocols can turn this around. But
we've got to deal with the social stigma attached to drug treatment.
We have done point number four, an enormous number of
alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent drug law offenders.
There's been some nonsense floating around on this issue; I would argue
that the facts generally don't substantiate the notion that people, by the
millions, are arrested and incarcerated for simple possession of drugs.
But what does happen, without question, is that if you're a chronic drug
abuser, you end up committing multiple felonies a year; you end up behind
bars for a variety of crimes. And yet, the real driving force is chronic
addiction. We do think we have significant new alternatives to
Point number five, we have broadened cooperation with key drug
transit and source countries like Colombia, Mexico and Thailand. I would
be the last person to suggest that there aren't significant remaining
problems. But it is without question that if you look back where we were
with Mexico five, six, seven years ago, and where we are today, both with
the outgoing Zedillo administration and the new Vicente Fox team that's now
taken office, we see a renewed commitment on their part to protecting
Mexican democracy to understanding that their own society is at risk from
the terrible impact of drugs being pulled through Mexico by U.S. demand.
So we think this cooperation has broadened.
Point number six, we have developed multilateral and regional
antidrug strategies in cooperation with other international organizations.
At the second Summit of the Americas in Santiago, Chile, two years ago, we
received our instructions from the 34 democratically-elected heads of
government; we have built on to the auspices of the Organization of
American States, the new Memorandum of Evaluation, the MEM document. A
couple of weeks ago we had a terrific session over in the OAS in which the
nations now, for the first time, reported on their own national strategies,
their own programs.
The United States also subjected itself to the common evaluation
of the OAS. And then, finally, I have to underscore the enormous
leadership and cooperation of the United Nations, not just Secretary
General Kofi Annan, but more directly, Mr. Pino Arlacchi in the United
Nations Drug Control Program in Vienna, and his extremely effective work in
trying to marshal multinational cooperation under U.N. auspices.
Finally -- and I think something that's a work in progress -- but
point number seven, I would just offer you the notion that in accordance
with the requirements of federal law, we now have a system called the
Performance Measures of Effectiveness. We have to achieve results that can
be measured and report to Congress each year what we accomplish with their
resources. And I think we've got a long way to go on pulling the system
together adequately, but I do believe we're in a position, and my
successors in coming years, to go back to Congress and say, look, here's
what worked and here's what didn't, and here's how we intend to use future
So that performance measure of effectiveness we believe is an
important contribution to this whole effort.
With your permission, I would ask Dr. Don Vereen to make his own
comments, and then followed by Janet Crist, our Chief of Staff. Thank you.
DR. VEREEN: Thanks. Very briefly, I just wanted to underscore
the science base of the report and the strategy. It's important to
understand that facts, rather than ideology and anecdote determine the
basis of the strategy and the report. It's data, not dogma; and it's our
dependence on data that keeps us ahead of the curve.
General McCaffrey just talked about new drug scourges that are
hitting the United States right now. We're able to respond to them much
more quickly than we did, for example, to crack when it hit the country,
when it invaded Miami and Florida and headed up the East Coast and across
the United States.
It's important that those data sets be available to you and to us
in order to develop the best policies. I want to run through very briefly
what some of those data sets are. They're summarized very nicely in the
report in a way that makes them accessible. But you should also know that
we're not just staying there on those data sets, we're continuing to evolve
and improve those data sets.
In particular, the National Household Survey, which we report on
every year, gives us a national picture of the drug issue. Those numbers,
that tell us whether or not drug use is going up or down in the nation, we
argue may have no relevance to what's going on in a community in Florida or
a community in California or a community right here in Washington, because
the drug problem is actually a collection of different drug problems.
So we've invested some funds with the help of Congress to get state-level
data on that national survey. So now states are armed with the same kinds
of data that we'll be using to make policy.
We have emergency room based data through our DAWN, our drug
abuse warning network system. We drug-test adolescents, as well as adults
in certain parts of the country to gauge the drug problem as it relates to
crime and violence through the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring program --
the ADAM program, run out of the Department of Justice -- CDC, the National
Institute on Drug Abuse, and we have our own studies to help monitor what
is going on in the drug area. Ultimately, our strategy and the report
every year, the effectiveness of what we do over time, can only be gauged
by what the data tell us.
In addition, we're applying science to our performance measures,
as just mentioned by Director McCaffrey. It's very important to reflect
back to the American people that we are actually doing what we say we're
doing in policy. And we're using objective standards to answer those
We have a gem in the form of the National Institute on Drug
Abuse, which does more than 80 percent of the world's research on drug
abuse and addiction. We need to use it. It needs to be applied. In the
area of treatment, the stigma, as was mentioned earlier, related to drug
abuse and addiction can only be dissolved by data coming out of our
National Institutes of Health, and NIH has been very important.
I also want to draw your attention to our Counter-Drug Technology
Assessment Center, which uses its resources to find gaps in research, or to
figure out what areas need a boost to help us out in our policy
development. We've been able to support, for example, dollars going to
some of the best research institutions in the country -- Harvard, the
University of Pennsylvania, the University of California at Los Angeles --
to buy equipment so that we can better understand what actually happens to
the brain when you use drugs for the first time, and what happens over time
when you continually use drugs over and over again, following the changes
that occur in the brain with continued drugs use. It's very, very
important information to get out and digest for you.
Our technology assessments are slowly but steadily enhancing our
ability to interdict illicit drugs, and our continuing success in the
technology transfer program is providing advanced technology to those in
the law enforcement area.
Now, you'll hear from Janet Crist about a number of programs that
we're involved with.
MS. CRIST: Hi. It falls to me to talk to you about a couple of
programs that we've had in operation since 1997, 1998 and give you a little
First would be the National Youth Antidrug Media Campaign.
That's a program designed to prevent drug use before it starts. Research
indicates that young people who refrain from using psychoactive substances
until age 21 rarely become users later in life. The earlier drug use is
initiated, the more likely users are to consume progressively more
dangerous drugs --substances. Reducing demand is key to primary
prevention. Consequently, the campaign's primary target audience is youth
from 11 to 13 years of age, with messages also designed for older
adolescents, parents and adult influencers.
This is a five-year, $1-billion initiative, and it's designed to
change attitudes. We want to use the media to change attitudes to educate
the youth of our nation and their parents. The campaign, as Don referred
to, is based on medical and behavioral research. It's developed in
consultation with experts on behavior, on drug prevention, on teen
marketing, on advertising, on communication. It's a prime example of
We have a partnership with the Partnership For A Drug-Free
America and the Ad Council to develop ads. We have partnerships in
increasing numbers with civic and service and youth-serving organizations,
like the Boys and Girls Clubs, like the American Medical Association, like
the American Bar Association, Youth Service of America.
It is also the strongest multicultural communications effort in
the United States and the federally funded multicultural effort we have
today. We are communicating in eight languages to youth and adult of
various ethnic groups. We reach out to African Americans, to Hispanics, to
Asian Americans. And the list goes on and on.
This campaign is working. We are currently reaching 95 percent
of our audience with messages 7.5 times per week. Teen disapproval of
marijuana is up, and more parents are talking to their kids about drugs.
Since 1997, we have seen a significant reversal of skyrocketing adolescent
drug use. Youth drug use has declined 21 percent in two years. The media
campaign is a key component of our success.
Secondly, I'd like to talk to you about a program, the Drug-Free
Communities Act, which was put into -- was passed by Congress in 1997,
strong bipartisan support. It is a grant program, by which the federal
government reaches directly into our communities. Its underlying premise
is that this is a national problem that must be dealt with, with local
solutions. So we reach out to local organizations to address the
We now have 307 coalitions receiving money through federal grants
in 49 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Twenty-five of the coalitions server Native American communities, and
one-third of the coalitions serve our rural communities.
Success in the drug effort could not be possible without local
involvement. And that's what this program does. Coalitions and their
leaders are taking responsibility for leadership on drug prevention in
their communities. This is another program that is making a difference in
Finally, I'd like to just touch briefly on an initiative, also
begun in 1997 when a White House task force was set up. The Director of
ONDCP, the Attorney General, the Director of CIA, the Secretary of Treasury
were commissioned to review the global U.S. counter-drug intelligence
system. The work of that task force was concluded earlier this year, and
since that time, since February, we have functioning a full-time
counter-drug intelligence executive secretariat, fully staffed, now
operational. They're charged with drawing up an action agenda that
promotes versatility in our counter-drug intelligence system.
It is our objective to find better ways to support our federal,
state and local law enforcement. The new counter-drug intelligence
architecture is the mechanism for coordination for accomplishing that, and
it works through four already existing intelligence centers: the National
Drug Intelligence Center, the El Paso Intelligence Center, the Financial
Crimes Enforcement Network, and the Crimes in Narcotics Center at CIA.
Information-sharing is key to our ability to better support law
enforcement, and that is what we have begun to accomplish with this
I'll now turn it back over to Director McCaffrey for questions.
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: And I'll throw it open for questions.
Q Well, I have two questions, actually. First of all, are you
concerned at all that the Bush administration could shift the focus away
from prevention and treatment, given then-Governor Bush's actions in
Florida, where he actually cut back in terms of the prisons, of treatment
programs? And secondly, have you seen -- and this is a rather silly
question -- but have you seen the movie "Traffic," and what did you think
of it? Is it an accurate portrayal of the debate that goes on, et al.?
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Yes -- well, the movie, "Traffic," I haven't
seen yet. I'm aware of it, it's gotten rave reviews. I look forward to
seeing it. Apparently it's terrific acting, and probably a pretty
realistic depiction of some of the incredible violence, corruption and
misery that comes out of drug abuse. So, as I understand it, it's a very
favorable portrayal of the Customs Service, which deserves it. But I look
forward to seeing it. I haven't seen it yet.
The other one is the incoming Bush administration -- you know, a
year and a half ago, with the approval of President Clinton, I went down
and briefed Governor Bush and his senior team on the drug strategy.
Throughout the campaign we fed both campaign headquarters issue papers. I
think these are first-rate people. This has been a bipartisan,
congressionally supported effort, with significant enhancement in
I think it's due for a re-look, and I'm sure they'll give it
careful consideration. But I can't imagine that there isn't widespread
unanimity of view that we need to continue working prevention, education,
and treatment issues, as well as multinational cooperation. So I'm very
upbeat about the new team.
Q Yes, sir. Thank you, and thank you for your service,
General. What about Mr. Fox and his administration's approach? What have
you seen so far as far as his approach to stemming narcotic flow through
Mexico? And I'd also like to ask you about cracking the Tijuana or
Arellano Felix cartel -- is there anything you can report about that?
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Well, details of these various international
criminal organizations -- Mr. Donnie Marshall and DEA are better postured
to respond to those questions. I would tell you that we're obviously very
impressed by President Fox. We dealt with him prior to the election; we
dealt with his transition team between those two events. I was part of
Secretary Madeleine Albright's delegation at his inauguration and I met at
some length with his new Attorney General, his new Minister of the
Interior, his new Health Secretary who plays a very critical role in Mexico
and in cooperation with the United States. I met with Mr. Reyes, his Los
Pinos advisor on drug and security issues. These are bright, pragmatic
people and they are determined that the 100 million Mexican citizens aren't
going to get rolled by these incredibly corrupt, dangerous organizations
that operate on both sides of the border.
This is a common problem. We're very proud of what the Zedillo
team accomplished, but this is going to require another decade of hard
work. So we're confident that these are serious people who share our view
of the dangers of drug abuse.
Q General, have you received any contact by the Fox
administration that the high-level contact group will continue with the
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: I don't know how these two governments will
organize themselves. The high-level contact group had eight meetings while
I was privileged to be the co-chair. On the Mexican side, it was chaired
by the Attorney General and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. I don't know
how the new government will pull this together.
But we are convinced that the drug issue is not one that belongs
only to law enforcement or only to foreign affairs or only to the health
ministry. It has to be a coherent, long-term approach. We've had three
U.S.-Mexico binational demand reduction conference in the last three years.
We're very hopeful that those continue with the new Health Minister. So I
think there will be some mechanism so the two governments work this in a
respectful, cooperative manner.
Q On teen drug use, several times today we've heard from the
podium and in the literature that's been distributed, that teen drug use
has dropped 21 percent in the past two years. But according to a report in
this morning's Boston Globe, a paper which claimed to have obtained an
advance copy of the survey you're releasing today, drug use among those age
12 to 17 was the same in 1999 as in '96; in both years, 9 percent of those
youths surveyed acknowledged using illegal drugs in the previous month.
And in fact, it says in 1993, only 5.7 percent of youth said they used
illegal drugs. So can you clarify the status of teen drug use here?
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: You know, to be honest, it's a rare instance
of bad reporting. I don't encounter that very often. I think that first
of all, the facts ought to speak for themselves. What we believe has
happened, if you look at it over a 20-year period, the worst year of
American drug abuse was about 1979. It was 14 percent of the population.
It dropped steadily for a variety of reasons, some of which involve
community antidrug coalitions.
I believe we took our eye off the problem. When we achieved such
dramatic successes in the '80s and youth attitudes, a new generation of
kids came along and rug use started to skyrocket. The situation we
encountered in 1996 was drug use among 8th graders had tripled, among the
young population had doubled. We went to Congress, we formed a team
approach, we consulted widely with experts, we got lots of resources
involved in it. It is paying off. That acceleration of drug abuse among
kids leveled off and now is going down dramatically.
So the point of the article seems to imply that it was bad when
you got here and it got a lot worse, and so the resources and the energy
was wasted, on the face of it is bad logic. We believe exactly what you
would have expected is happening. These programs are shifting youth
attitudes, drug courts are working. We've got a couple of hundred thousand
people now in recovery, a combination of treatment and coercion. We think
community drug coalitions do pay off, and we see the result of it, in our
view, in almost every one of these statistical indicators tends to indicate
we're shifting in the right direction.
Q So you just use their numbers, then?
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: I think the numbers -- again, what he did
was, he took two numbers and used them out of context and implied that the
programs, therefore, couldn't have an effect. It's sort of silly. There
is a cause and effect, in our judgment, between the media campaign,
coalitions, parent involvement. We think effective drug treatment does
So, again, I rarely encounter this. I think the drug issue
requires dispassionate analytical analysis by the media, and that's a rare
instance when I don't think it was very good reporting.
Q In one of the press releases you have out here today, you
talk about adding treatment to the national strategy's five goals, you talk
about reducing the treatment gap. Well, is that just some words there,
because treatment has always been part of your strategy, hasn't it?
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Yes. I don't know how we got into this --
that sort of spin on it. What we did was -- now, to be blunt, every year
we take that strategy back out to some 4,000 people, and we ask them to get
their language, their logic, their science into it. And I think what did
happen was, the treatment community said, you've got to be more explicit,
directly explicit on goal number three. You don't say in the goal itself
-- the way you reduce the enormous harm that the 5 million chronic addicts
are causing is by effective drug treatment; so we made it explicit.
But you're quite correct. We've increased by some 35 percent
federal support of drug treatment. That goal, though, is inadequately
fulfilled. I would argue one of the great unfinished business that the
next administration has to face up to is how do we create a health
insurance industry where substance abuse treatment for both illegal drugs
and alcohol, as well as mental health care, is part of your health
insurance package. If we don't do that, we're never going to break out of
this cycle of crime, violence, illness, legal difficulties, family agony,
So I think it's inadequate, but the federal government put huge,
new resources into it; you're quite correct.
Q General, when it comes to Colombia, President Pastrana has
mentioned the fact that he might stop the peace talks with the FARC forces.
In addition to that, the United States has supported several billion
dollars to Colombia. What would be your assessment of the situation in
Colombia today and advice for the new administration?
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Well, you know, Colombia has been a huge
focus on the part of a lot of us -- and I say a lot of us meaning in
Congress -- Speaker Denny Hastert, Senator Joe Biden and others; in the
interagency group Under Secretary Tom Pickering, NSC Advisor Sandy Berger
-- a lot of us were involved in trying to pull together long-term support
for the Andean Ridge. We did get a $1.3-billion, two-year package through
Congress, and when President Clinton flew into Cartagena to meet with
President Pastrana and release that, we had a sizeable bipartisan U.S.
congressional delegation along with us.
We wanted to underscore, we got the point, these are 40 million
people, three hours' flight from Miami, who have huge importance,
politically, culturally, economically, to the United States. And we intend
to stand with them.
But we think that Colombian program is well-founded. It's a
Colombian strategy of $7.5-billion, three-year total dimensions. It's
going to have an enormous amount of support out of their own internal
resources, some $4 billion. It involves huge resources out of the
international financial institutions and growing support, we hope, out of
Europe, Japan and others who need to understand that they are also at risk
from both heroin and cocaine produced in the Andean Ridge.
We think President Pastrana, though, has got a huge challenge.
The level of violence is almost unimaginable to the American population --
26,000 or more heavily armed FARC, ELN and AUC narcoterrorists, and they've
been devastating in their impact on Colombian democratic institutions.
But we're going to stand behind the Colombian leadership and hope
to build a regional consensus that Colombia must not be isolated. This
problem affects all of us.
Q Have you any evidence of FARC traffic in drugs?
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Let me, if I can, get this gentleman. Yes,
Q General, on the new HIDTAS, and specifically the one in Las
Vegas, what are the problems that got it designated, and what results
should the locals expect based on other HIDTA experiences?
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Yes, we have a handout and I would ask you to
go to that, but there was a lot of competition for those additional
resources, and I really thank Congress for allowing me some discretion in
the new budget to designate even more. We've got more flexible funding.
But that one was probably, in many ways -- I think it received
the most votes out of the Inter-agency Committee for trying to confront a
significant number of drug trafficking organizations, a huge threat both
coming out of Mexico, and the manufacture of methamphetamines, which is
endemic throughout that part of the country.
So we think there's going to be a big payoff, not just to Nevada
and Clark County, but to the rest of the United States. And that's really
been the heart and soul of the HIDTA program: get modest amounts of federal
dollars -- we're talking, you know, between $1 and $14 million -- to a
designated area so that the local, state and federal prosecutors and law
enforcement and intelligence can come together. Nevada, along with other
places in the United States, has a significant drug threat.
Q Are these going to be the final HIDTAs named in this
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Yes. I think the next team needs to look --
they're going to have a considerable amount of money and discretionary
authority, and they'll have to go back -- Mr. Joe Peters, who runs this
program for me, a very professional group -- he's a former assistant U.S.
attorney, police officer, and has been very heavily involved in the HIDTA
program from the start -- he'll try and advise the new drug policy team.
Q A follow-up on Colombia. What is the future of the drug
strategy on Colombia, with the FARC and -- to the United States, as you
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Well, I think the question is essentially
what's the future in terms of FARC/ELN/AUC action. They are fighting over
520 metric tons of cocaine and eight metric tons of heroin. And to their
viewpoint, that's worth fighting over. Maybe it's a half billion dollars
in cash. It means when you see on TV FARC battalions, they're wearing
shiny new uniforms. They've got helicopters, aircraft, money to corrupt
politicians, the media, the armed forces, the police. These are dangerous
And you know, 200 metric tons of cocaine went to Europe last
year, primarily through Spain and the Netherlands. So now you've got a
situation in Europe where they're paying double per kilogram of cocaine
what's being spent in the United States. This is a global problem we're
trying to deal with. And I think without question, it's incumbent upon all
of us in the Americas, under the OAS auspices, to stand with the
I'm very upbeat, though. These are serious people. Minister
Ramirez, General Tapias, President Pastrana, they will focus on the
Q General, now what are your plans and what are your greatest
disappointments as you move into the future?
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Well, my plans, I'm going to go teach
national security studies at West Point. First class on the 25th, 19
hand-selected students. So I've got my work cut out for me to get ready
for that responsibility. And I hope to be able to do a book on the drug
issue. I want to talk about who shaped my understanding of the drug issue
in America, and it won't be the policy process so much as the humans and
their experiences -- Dr. Ephram Goldstein at Stanford University; Jessica
Winsley, a 26-year-old Princeton grad who is on our Community Drug-Free
Advisory Board -- I want those names and their experiences to be in front
of the American people.
Q What are your greatest disappointments as you leave office,
Q You mentioned a number of figures concerning the amounts of
money going into that. But do you have at this point any indication that
there has been a success, either in terms of territory that has been
demilitarized or the amount of drugs that have been stopped?
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Well, there's always been sort of a notion
you can't do anything about drug production, it's hopeless, why don't we
just give up and legalize it, when, in fact, there's an enormously
successful experience in Pakistan, dramatically reducing heroin production;
in Thailand, now less than 1 percent of the region's total; huge successes
in Peru; down by some 60 some odd percent in Bolivia.
The Colombians were very successful in operating against drug
production in Guaviare Province. Now they're going to have to go down in
the "empty zone," Caqueta and Putumayo Provinces, and eliminate this giant
amount of coca that's growing down there. They've moved significant
security forces in; they put human rights monitors in there - agents of the
Fiscalia that the rule of law is reestablished in the south. There's a
very serious alternative economic program going now under the auspices of
an agency called PLANTE in Colombia.
So it seems to us that they've put together a decent concept;
they're determined to protect their own future. And gosh knows, all of us
in the region better pray for their success.
Q -- interdiction to prevention --
Q Can you just talk about your biggest disappointment as you
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: I leave this job with enormous pride, a sense
of satisfaction. I've been very proud to be associated with the
President's leadership on the issue. He's given us the resources we need
and the support. I have a great sense of trust and respect and affection
for people like Janet Reno, Donna Shalala, Dick Riley, Donnie Marshall in
the DEA, Admiral Jim Malloy in the Coast Guard. You know, Ray Kelly in the
Customs Service. These are good people. And I think the numbers are
starting to respond.
I think what all of us as Americans need to understand is, part
of our problem has been this metaphor, "the war on drugs." We need to
understand that this is a decade-long struggle for our children, for our
employees, for the kind of youth attitudes we want to shape. I think
there's a lot of work that remains to be done. Drug use in America is
still abysmally high, but fortunately, cocaine use is down by 70 percent,
drug-related murders are down by a half. Adolescent drug use is in
The work, I think, that is most serious that remains to be done
is forming coherent ways to deal with 5 million chronically-addicted
Americans. Until we have what Dr. Wesley Clark over in Health and Human
Services calls "the no wrong door system." If you're chronically addicted,
we need you to be admitted to a program that deals not just with drug
addiction, but mental health care, and also confronts the legal problems
and social problems you've generated.
We've got to put together this package. That takes hard work and
organization. But I do see that happening.
Q Should you be succeeded by a general?
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Golly, I don't know. I would leave it up to
the new administration how they want to approach this. There are lots of
good people out there right now that are being looked at for the job.
Thanks very much for the chance to talk to you.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 11:55 A.M. EST