A REPORT OF FAILURE IN WAR ON DRUGS (House of Representatives - March 14, 1996)

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The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Florida [Mr. Mica] is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. MICA Mr. Speaker, I come to the floor this afternoon to talk about a report issued by one of the subcommittees on which I serve. I serve on the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight. The Subcommittee on National Security, International Affairs, and Criminal Justice has just released this report entitled `The National Drug Policy: A Review of the Status of the Drug War.' I am here to tell my colleagues that this is the review of a trail of tears. This is a review of a trail of failure. It really talks about one of the greatest failures of this administration, and that is to ignore and to not address the drug problem and plague that is facing our Nation.

Let me say that President Clinton really has abandoned America and failed miserably in the fight against drugs during his first 3 years in office. In fact, if we look at what he did, first of all he cut the drug interdiction budget.

Then we talked about cuts in the White House. He ended up cutting 85 percent of the drug policy staff in the White House. Then he cut funding for DEA agents. That is part of what is detailed in this record.

Mr. Speaker, his lack of leadership on this issue in fact is appalling. The results should be sobering to every American. Listen to these facts in this report: Under President Clinton's watch, drug prosecution has dropped 12.5 percent in the past 2 years. After 11 years of drug use declining among high school seniors, the number of 12th graders using drugs on a monthly basis has increased 65 percent just since President Clinton has taken office.

A September 1995 survey shows that drug abuse in kids 12 to 17 jumped 50 percent in just 1994. This report also shows that marijuana use among 12- to 17-year-olds has doubled from 1992 to 1994, and heroin use by teenagers is up. Emergency room visits by heroin users rose 31 percent between 1992 and 1993 alone.

We might say, why? And I say, it is no wonder, when we look at the leadership that has been provided here. First of all, what did the President do? He appointed Joycelyn Elders, and she did not make a drug use and drug abuse a priority. In fact, she talked about legislation. In fact Mrs. Elders said, `I do not feel that we would markedly reduce our crime rate if drugs were legalized.' This is outrageous.

Mrs. Reagan, when she was the First Lady, instituted the theme of just say no. The Clinton administration has a new message, and that message has been just say maybe. And it has created a disaster. Again, it is outlined by this.

The emphasis and the money have flowed to treatment. What is the end product of all this? It is people that are using drugs. So we are putting our emphasis and money on treatment. Even a Rand study that the administration in fact touted finds that only 4 percent of heavy cocaine users who go through the treatment cut back on their use of cocaine. So we find where the administration is spending taxpayer money, in fact it is not having results.

Mr. Speaker, this administration destroyed a drug interdiction program. We have cut funding, we have cut emphasis, and we made ourselves the laughing stock of the Andean region.

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With our drug control strategy already in disarray in 1994, the administration suddenly reversed its practice of sharing intelligence and radar equipment to attack narco-terrorist planes. Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia where almost 100 percent of the world's cocaine is produced was betrayed by this reversal of U.S. policy. Only after a chorus of Congress expressed its outrage did the administration change it policy, but the damage was done.

And then finally what did we do? We certified Mexico. I participated in drafting the certification language when I was a member of the staff of the other body, and this is a disgrace. DEA confirms that 70 percent of the cocaine coming into the United States comes from Mexico. So this is a record of disaster.