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Drug Czar Says Drug Abuse Has Declined


420 Staff
Illegal drug use in the United States has dropped sharply since 2001, but abuse of prescription drugs remains a problem, the director of National Drug Control Policy said Friday.

John Walters said that President Bush's anti-drug plan for 2007-08 - which was released in Portland - is to reduce prescription drug abuse by 15 percent over three years. The administration ranks the problem second only to marijuana.

The plan singled out the pain reliever OxyContin as one of the prescription drugs most abused.

The strategy calls for more states to adopt prescription drug monitoring programs to prevent "doctor shopping" to get more drugs.

Seventeen states, including Oregon, lack such a program, but the Oregon Legislature is considering one.

The American Civil Liberties Union has questioned whether such programs violate doctor-patient confidentiality.

Walters said overall use of illegal drugs among young people is down 23 percent from 2001, with 840,000 fewer teenagers using drugs now.

Since 2001, the survey showed drops of 50 percent for methamphetamines, 21 percent for steroids and 25 percent for marijuana among teenagers.

Walters credited drug testing for much of the decline and urged its expansion in schools and elsewhere.

He also said abuse among older people declined.

Walters said the data came from a survey done at the University of Michigan for the National Institute For Substance Abuse.

The administration report says about 19.7 million Americans reported using at least one illegal substance in the previous month.

Bush's program calls for a media campaign, nonpunitive random student drug testing and more local anti-drug coalitions.

It provides $12.9 billion for prevention, treatment and supply reduction campaigns. Walters said most of it is destined for communities to develop their own drug programs.

Walters said the number of small methamphetamine labs found in Oregon dropped by 87 percent from 2004 to 2006, the period in which Oregon became the first state to require a prescription for cold remedies containing pseudophedrine, a key ingredient in making meth- amphetamine.

In Washington, D.C, Bill Piper, director of affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, called the strategy a "spin on the failure of the war on drugs." He said in a statement that drugs are as available as ever and that communities continue to be devastated and that related harms of addiction, overdose, and the spread of disease continue to mount.

Source: Register-Guard, The (OR)
Copyright: 2007 The Register-Guard
Contact: rgletters@guardnet.com
Website: Breaking local news, news updates, sports, business and weather | Eugene, Oregon


New Member
420 said:
Walters said overall use of illegal drugs among young people is down 23 percent from 2001, with 840,000 fewer teenagers using drugs now.
Does that mean a 23% decrease in the Cannabis War budget? Me thinks not.

I think they're full of it. More propaganda to show that they're making headway.
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