[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[March 3, 1998]
[Pages 320-321]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Message to the Congress Transmitting the 1998 National Drug Control 
March 3, 1998

To the Congress of the United States:
    On behalf of the American people, I am pleased to transmit the 1998 
National Drug Control Strategy to the Congress. The 1998 Strategy 
reaffirms our bipartisan, enduring commitment to reduce drug use and its 
destructive consequences.
    This year's Strategy builds upon the 1997 Strategy and is designed 
to reduce drug use and availability in America in half over the next 10 
years--a historic new low. This plan has been developed under the 
leadership of General Barry McCaffrey, 
Director of National Drug Control Policy, in close consultation with the 
Congress, the more than 50 Federal agencies and departments involved in 
the fight against drugs, the dedicated men and women of law enforcement, 
and with stakeholders--mayors, doctors, clergy, civic leaders, parents, 
and young people--drawn from all segments of our society.
    I am also proud to report that we have made real and substantial 
progress in carrying out the goals of the 1997 Strategy. Working with 
the Congress, we have begun the National Anti-Drug Youth Media Campaign. 
Now when our children turn on the television, surf the ``net,'' or 
listen to the radio, they can learn the plain truth about drugs: they 
are wrong, they put your future at risk, and they can kill you. I thank 
you for your vital support in bringing this important message to 
America's young people.

[[Page 321]]

    Together, we enacted into law the Drug-Free Communities Act of 1997, 
which will help build and strengthen 14,000 community anti-drug 
coalitions and brought together civic groups--ranging from the Elks to 
the Girl Scouts and representing over 55 million Americans--to form a 
Civic Alliance, targeting youth drug use. By mobilizing people and 
empowering communities, we are defeating drugs through a child-by-child, 
street-by-street, and neighborhood-by-neighborhood approach.
    We have also helped make our streets and communities safer by 
strengthening law enforcement. Through my Administration's Community 
Oriented Police (COPs) program, we are helping but 100,000 more police 
officers in towns and cities across the Nation. We are taking deadly 
assault weapons out of the hands of drug dealers and gangs, making our 
streets safer for our families. We have taken steps to rid our prisons 
of drugs, as well as to break the vicious cycle of drugs and crime. 
These efforts are making a difference: violent crime in America has 
dropped dramatically for 5 years in a row.
    Over the last year, the United States and Mexico reached agreement 
on a mutual Threat Assessment that defines the scope of the common 
threat we face; and, an Alliance that commits our great nations to 
defeating that threat. Soon, we will sign a bilateral Strategy that 
commits both nations to specific actions and performance benchmarks. Our 
work to enhance cooperation within the hemisphere and worldwide is 
already showing results. For example, Peruvian coca production has 
declined by roughly 40 percent over the last 2 years. In 1997, Mexican 
drug eradication rates reached record levels, and seizures increased 
nearly 50 percent over 1996.
    We are making a difference. Drug use in America has declined by 50 
percent over the last decade. For the first time in 6 years, studies 
show that youth drug use is beginning to stabilize, and in some respects 
is even declining. And indications are that the methamphetamine and 
crack cocaine epidemics, which in recent years were sweeping the Nation, 
have begun to recede.
    However, we must not confuse progress with ultimate success. 
Although youth drug use has started to decline, it remains unacceptably 
    More than ever, we must recommit ourselves to give parents the tools 
and support they need to teach children that drugs are dangerous and 
wrong. That is why we must improve the Safe and Drug-Free Schools 
program, and other after school initiatives that help keep our kids in 
school, off drugs, and out of trouble. We must hire 1,000 new border 
patrol agents and close the door on drugs at our borders. We must 
redouble our efforts with other nations to take the profits out of drug 
dealing and trafficking and break the sources of supply. And we must 
enact comprehensive bipartisan tobacco legislation that reduces youth 
smoking. These and other efforts are central elements of the 1998 
National Drug Control Strategy.
    With the help of the American public, and the ongoing support of the 
Congress, we can achieve these goals. In submitting this plan to you, I 
ask for your continued partnership in defeating drugs in America. Our 
children and this Nation deserve no less.

                                                      William J. Clinton

The White House,

March 3, 1998.