Response to 'Another Bush Failure'

Mr. Ferguson presents a number of misunderstandings about drug policy and its recent results in his piece, “Another Bush Failure.”  Since 2001, teen drug use has plummeted 23%.  There are 840,000 fewer teens using drugs today than there were five years ago.  

Past month use of meth-amphetamine is down 50% since 2001, in large part because of precursor chemical legislation and effective partnerships between the U.S. and outside countries to stop the flow of meth into our nation.  The number of toxic meth labs in the U.S. has been dramatically reduced over the past five years, and we are now working closely with Mexico to control their supply of meth and precursors.

    This progress is monitored through a variety of surveys and research.  The National Household Survey (NSDUH), the largest of its kind, monitors 12-17 year olds, as well as adults age 18 and older.  It provides data on everything from drug use patterns by gender to usage of different substances to behavioral activities while under the influence.  This and other surveys show reductions in use of every major drug — marijuana down by 25 percent, meth by 50 percent, steroids by 20 percent, LSD and Ecstasy and alcohol and tobacco are all down.

Random Student Drug Testing is an increasingly popular and effective tool to reduce drug use. Through the Department of Education, federal grant monies are made available to schools to implement testing programs in their communities. Over the last five fiscal years, $35.9-million has been awarded in Random Student Drug Testing grants, and the President went so far as to highlight it in his 2004 State of the Union Address, as an issue of importance.

We are pushing back, effectively. Across the country local communities and grassroots efforts are working together on the front lines to make a difference. We will continue to work even harder and push back to reduce drug use to its lowest levels yet.  Our nation has suffered the painful consequences of illegal drug use and addiction.  The good news is that we are now making some welcome progress.

Tom Riley
Communications Director
White House Office of National Drug Control Policy