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The BBC's Paul Reynolds:
"The use of drugs has not been defeated"
 real 28k

Friday, 5 January, 2001, 01:05 GMT
US drug use down
Barry McCaffrey
McCaffrey: Drug use contained but not defeated
President Clinton's top drugs policy official says there has been a dramatic fall in teenage drug use in the United States.

They think ecstasy is a hug drug, it's a dance-all-night, feel-good drug

Drug czar Barry McCaffrey
White House drugs policy director, Barry McCaffrey, said the 21% decline in the use of drugs by teenagers over the past two years showed the success of efforts to tackle drugs trafficking.

But he also said that there had been an explosive increase in the use of the drug ecstasy by young people.

General McCaffrey emphasised the need for continued work on prevention, education, and treatment - as well as multi-national cooperation.

Club drugs

In his last report before stepping down on Friday, General McCaffrey said about 14 million Americans used illegal drugs last month alone.

ecstasy tablets
There has been an explosion the use of ecstasy
He said studies had also provided disturbing evidence of increased use of steroids, ecstasy and other drugs.

Use of ecstasy, once mainly an East Coast drug, had spread rapidly across the country, the report said.

Crack cocaine

About 1.27 million doses of ecstasy were confiscated in 1999, compared with 92,000 in 1997.

He also noted that steroid use was up, particularly among young people who want "to get that ripped look... to improve their chance of getting selected for Little League baseball, or high school diving, or track".

Colombia launches a war on drugs
The US is partly funding Colombia's war against drugs
He insisted, however, that efforts by the Clinton administration had had a positive impact and called on the incoming administration of George W Bush to continue the fight against drugs.

General McCaffrey said drug-related crimes such as robbery and murder had dropped significantly, due largely to a decline in the use of crack cocaine.

The drug czar added that the US would continue to support the government of Colombia in its efforts to reduce drug production.

Colombia is the source of much of America's illicit cocaine and heroin trade, and General McCaffrey was instrumental in developing a $1.3bn aid package to help fight the drugs war.

A key issue for the Bush administration will be whether to continue funding the plan, in which US military advisers are training special Colombian battalions to combat the drugs trade.

General McCaffrey said the problem was not just an American one and called on European countries to help.

Some 200 tonnes of cocaine, he said went to Europe last year from Colombia.

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