[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1997, Book II)]
[December 20, 1997]
[Page 1813]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

The President's Radio Address
December 20, 1997

    Good morning. In this season of hope and special time for our loved 
ones, I'd like to share some thoughts on what all Americans can do to 
strengthen our families. Specifically, I want to talk about our efforts 
to protect our children from drugs, the most dangerous enemy of 
childhood. Nothing can cause more pain and heartbreak in a family or 
cause more harm to a child's future than the use and abuse of drugs.
    We should be very proud that drug use among all Americans has fallen 
by one-half since 1979. But in recent years teenage drug use was rising. 
Today I have some good news.
    A second major survey on drug use this year has confirmed that for 
the first time since 1991, our teenagers are beginning to turn away from 
drugs. In a report I'm a releasing today, the Department of Health and 
Human Services has found that the increasing rates of teen drug use are 
leveling off and, in some cases, decreasing. Today's eighth graders are 
less likely to have used drugs over the past year, and just as 
important, they are more likely to disapprove of drug use. This change 
in attitudes represents a glimmer of hope in our efforts to protect our 
children from drugs. But our work is far from over.
    The most effective strategy we have against drugs begins at home. 
It's a fight that can be won at kitchen tables all across America. This 
holiday season, as we spend some hard-earned time with our families, I 
urge all parents to sit down with their children, as Hillary and I have 
done, and share a simple and important lesson: Drugs are dangerous; 
drugs are wrong; and drugs can kill you.
    But Government can also do its part to help parents keep their 
children safe from drugs. Over the past 5 years, our administration has 
put in place a comprehensive national plan to fight drugs at all levels. 
We're putting 100,000 community police on our streets. We've cracked 
down on meth dealers and seized their labs. We've expanded mandatory 
drug testing for parolees and demanded that drug offenders get the 
treatment they need to live productive lives. We've worked with 
neighboring countries to prevent drugs from crossing our borders in the 
first place and built new community coalitions against drugs.
    Most importantly, we fought to protect the safe and drug-free 
schools program that helps to keep drugs out of classrooms and away from 
children. The historic Balanced Budget Act I signed this summer also 
includes $195 million for a national youth antidrug media campaign. Our 
goal is to make sure that every time a child turns on the TV, listens to 
the radio, or surfs the Internet, he or she will get the powerful 
message that drugs can destroy your life.
    But we can't ever forget that the best drug enforcement prevention 
effort still is parents teaching their children the difference between 
right and wrong when it comes to drugs. So once again, I call upon our 
parents to build on the progress we're making by talking frankly to your 
children about the destructive consequences of trying and using drugs.
    As we celebrate the blessings of the year just past, let's all work 
to ensure that every child can look forward to a safe, healthy, and 
hopeful new year.
    Thanks for listening.

Note: The address was recorded at 6 p.m. on December 19 in the Roosevelt 
Room at the White House for broadcast at 10:06 a.m. on December 20.