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Statement Following a Meeting on Drug Abuse Prevention Programs.

November 27, 1973

IN meeting today with members of the two Cabinet-level groups responsible for shaping the Nation's antidrug policies both here and abroad--the Domestic Council Committee on Drug Abuse and the Cabinet Committee on International Narcotics Control--I have reaffirmed this Administration's total commitment to meet the threat which drug abuse poses to the health and well-being of millions of our people and, ultimately, to the fiber of our society.

Evidence has continued to build up during 1973 indicating that we are now on the way to winning the battle against this grave problem. International sources of heroin supply are being pinched off, narcotics prices are up while the quality of illicit narcotic supplies is down, and the capabilities for drug enforcement and treatment have been upgraded at all levels of government. The result is that our heroin addict population has begun to decline and the rate of new addiction is down sharply.

Now our concern must be to press on and finish the task. As with any effort that has begun to succeed, we are finding that our preliminary successes in the antidrug campaign have been uncovering further problems to be solved. My discussions with top officials today focused on three such areas where more must be done if we are to build effectively on the gains already made.

First, I have directed that efforts be stepped up to enroll in treatment programs those heroin addicts who have not voluntarily sought treatment thus far. The "easy half" of our addict population, those who want to break out of drug bondage, have largely been reached. The next step will be to work intensively through education, persuasion, and incentives, applied within the criminal justice system, to bring into treatment the remaining addicts, those who may even think they enjoy their condition and whose proselytizing is the main cause of new addiction.

Second, as treatment programs continue to cut down the numbers of persons who need heroin treatment, we will continue to encourage seriously dependent, nonopiate drug abusers to utilize any excess capacity which may develop in our existing treatment facilities.

Third, increased attention must and will be given to adapting our international narcotics control efforts to deal with the new patterns for smuggling drugs that will inevitably emerge as existing smuggling routes into this country are cut off. I have directed our ambassadors abroad to move vigorously on this front.

I have often described the menace of drug abuse as America's "public enemy number one." We can be grateful that this problem is finally beginning to come under control. But we must also be determined never to let up in our offensive until the conquest of this enemy is complete.

Note: The meeting was held in the Cabinet Room at the White House.

On the same day, the White House released a fact sheet on drug abuse law enforcement, treatment, and rehabilitation programs.

Richard Nixon, Statement Following a Meeting on Drug Abuse Prevention Programs. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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