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National Drug Control Strategy – 2008

Washington, D.C.— During his weekly radio address, President Bush released the 2008 National Drug Control Strategy. The Strategy outlines progress made in reducing both the supply of and demand for illegal drugs, and highlights challenges that remain.With the release of his first National Drug Control Strategy in 2002, the President set the ambitious goal of cutting drug use among young people by 25 percent over five years. Through a balanced approach that emphasized prevention, education, and treatment, as well as enhanced law enforcement and international cooperation, youth drug use has declined 24 percent since 2001 860,000 fewer young people using drugs today than six years ago. In addition, teen marijuana use is down 25 percent, Ecstasy use has dropped by more than half, and youth use of methamphetamine has plummeted 64 percent.

John Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy and President Bush’s Drug Czar said, Teen drug abuse is down sharply, and this will provide lasting benefits to our Nation, since we know that most adults who get caught in addiction begin with use as teens. But there are still too many of our friends, our family members, our coworkers and our neighbors who are becoming lost in the maze of addiction. We need to find whatever ways we can to create a turning point in their lives a turning point that leads to recovery.

Bringing attention to the emerging threat of prescription drug abuse, President Bush called for tighter controls on Internet sales of controlled substances. Online pharmacies have increasingly become sources for diversion of prescription drugs, and the President urged Congress to take swift legislative action to put an end to illegal sales of controlled substances on the Internet.

The Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act (S.980), sponsored by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL), would restrict the ability of rogue Internet pharmacies to illegally divert dangerous controlled substance prescription drugs to millions of people even teens without valid prescriptions issued under a legitimate physician’s care. The bill was unanimously approved by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary in September 2007, and awaits consideration by the full Senate.

Prescription drugs provide tremendous benefits to our Nation, said Director Walters, but when misused or abused they can lead to addiction, and worse. We are working with leaders in Congress to modernize our laws to address the problem of rogue online pharmacies’ which skirt around the safeguards of legitimate medical practice and prescriptions. Prescription drug abuse is an area of serious concern, and we are now focusing our Nation’s supply, demand, and prevention policies with the goal of seeing the same reductions that we have achieved for illegal street’ drugs.