PROFESSOR SAM DASH: It is really with great pleasure that I welcome
General McCaffrey's participation in this symposium, here, as our luncheon
speaker. Of course you all know him as the director of the Office of Drug
Control Policy of this country.
He was nominated to the position by President Clinton and confirmed by
unanimous Senate vote on February 29, 1996. He serves as a member of the
President's Cabinet, the President's Drug Policy Council, and the National
Security Council for drug-related issues. But he is a real American hero.
I'm delighted to introduce General McCaffrey. We're very pleased to have you
GENERAL BARRY McCAFFREY: You know, the drug issue is sort of an
interesting one. There is a widespread belief among well-educated, decent
people in America, that the problem's an impossible one. You know, it's just
too tough. We don't--you know, there's sor--there's a series of sort of
stereotype views of who's using drugs, and why, and why do we care about it
anyway? And is there really anything you can do about either supply or demand?
And we fought an unsuccessful War On Drugs for the past 30 years. Why don't we
try something new and creative and different? And, by the way, who ever heard
of somebody winning a war by taking care of the wounded? Shouldn't we try
Now, I would argue--you're gonna have a responsible discussion on the drug
issue, on informed exchange of idea. A couple a things. First of all, you
know, if this was economic policy, national agricultural policy, interstate
commerce, we'd have to agree on some facts, and then go on to debate
alternative conclusions and hypotheses. That's worth debating.
But we all learn in College 101 logic, you can't argue about facts. They either
are or they're not. And you gotta finally have some consensus on what are the
numbers, and, you know, is there a neurochemical way of seeing brain
And there's some documents, and there's some people who are organizing these
programs, and you gotta know about 'em. You can't set up a straw man argument
and say isn't that remiss, evil, wrongheaded, and then construct an alternative
reality until you know what's going on.
And that, it seems to me--thank you, Professor Dash--is the reason for
Georgetown University holding a forum like this.
Now I've got 154 people, probably another 50 liaison officers from various
agencies of Government. We're the, by law, the people who are charged with
trying to integrate sensible drug policy at the federal level, and I, and I
underscore at the federal level because of that's only one sort of modest
aspect of it. The real problem about drug abuse is at community level, and it
involves a terrible self-destruction caused by these products. There aren't
many of them, by the way. There's only a dozen, or so, that literally create
these intense feelings of euphoria, that far exceed, predictably, will far
exceed the kind of pleasure you get out of this first-rate lunch, out of sexual
intercourse, out of drinking water, out of seeing a sunset in Hawaii. They
just predictably generate these intense feelings of pleasure, and they do so in
almost all of us, whether it's Demerol or alcohol, or cocaine or
methamphetamines. That's the deal.
That's why people use drugs--because of the pleasure sensation. They like what
it does for their brain. And the problem is--you know--it's too bad there's no
free lunch in life--that after some period of time, many of us, but not all of
us, but high numbers of us find that we have altered the neurochemical function
of the brain through poly drug abuse, and, suddenly, from euphoria, we're in
We cannot believe our own disgusting, immoral behavior. We're, we're
frightened by our alienation from our family. We're getting arrested all the
time in the most degrading of situations. Male street prostitution. Burglary.
Breaking into cars.
We haven't been employed in a decade, and then, suddenly, I'm 35 years old,
white male, and I have been in abject misery since my late teenage years.
That's the deal. And I got there, according to Alan Leshner, by entering into
a series of behaviors in which protective factors and risk factors, the sort of
the cumulative impact on my environment, allowed me to continue down a trail to
where I join the 5 million of us who are chronically addicted to drugs.
By the way, there's another 10 million, or so, who have such a terrible abuse
pra--pattern with alcohol, that they fall into the same category. They're just
in abject misery, and, you know, all of them, you know, say, "Well, who are
these guys? Aren't they all minority, crazy guys, poor guys, city guys, East
Coast, West Coast. Surely, surely, it's not somebody like me and my kids."
Well, I don't know. You know, turns out that's just not the case. Turns out
that the problem of drug abuse in America affects just about anybody who gets
involved in this behavior, particularly when you're young.
You know, if you try cocaine at age 30, you start smoking a joint or two in
your third year of law school, if you start popping beers in your face after
your second baby, at age 25, the statistics of it are pretty clear. That's not
as statistically predictive in--of a bad outcome as a 12-year-old boy or girl
smoking pot on weekends, and that kid puts themselves in a 79-fold higher
likelihood of having a chronic drug abuse problem.
Now, argue about the number. You know, Herb Klever's reaction to you would be
all we're reasonably sure is, the more you do it, the younger you are, the
greater the probability of ending up in a dysfunctional legal, social, medical
And so we don't want our kids using drugs, real bad. And then--and, by the
way, when you start looking at real high rates of drug abuse--well, highest
rates of drug abuse in our society are health professionals. ICU nurses,
anesthesiologists, people who have access to Percocet, Percodan. You know, you
go down to the Talbott-Marsh [ph] Clinic in Atlanta, it's great fun, sit there
in a room, 25 docs, white female, 45-year-old plastic surgeon, San Francisco,
chronically abusing alcohol and Percocet, and now into street drugs, and she's
under indictment, and her professional life is in chaos, and her family is
alienated, and she's in abject misery.
There is sort of a difference, though. She's got 14,000 bucks for the best
treatment program in the country, and thank God the DEA has got her license to
write prescriptions. So we find that the program of drug treatment for, you
know, chronically-addicted physicians works pretty darn good, thank you.
You know, a year out from treatment, they're up in the 90 percent plus
favorable response rate. Now go to the other end. What's the lowest rate of
drug abuse in our society? Active members of the armed forces. Your
grandchildren, grandsons, your kids, your nephews, these boys and girls out in
the street at age eighteen. They come in--come into the armed forces and they
don't use drugs too much. About a percent or two. Part of the reason's the
drug testing. Part of the reason's military discipline. A good piece of the
reason, however, I would argue, is we got sergeants, and sergeants act like
parents are supposed to act, and they set standards, and they treat people with
respect, and they put high demands on 'em, and they also say, hey, kid, you
wanna use drugs on this ship, in this squadron, in this battalion--we will
separate you from us. We won't lock you up. You can't stay with us any longer.
And so drug abuse rates in the active armed forces, the same kids who are out
here smoking a joint or two, in many cases, during their adolescent years,
don't use drugs in the military.
By the way, some of you heard this statistic before, and it's sort of
counterintutitive to many of you. One of the lowest rates of drug abuse in our
society are African Americans under the age of thirty use less booze,
cigarettes, heroin, crack cocaine rates for the black population, younger, are
lower than for the general population. That's the deal.
So you gotta, you gotta understanding, it seems to me--and, by the way, I hold
this mirror up to American society just to underscore that you and I have got
to see this as a community problem, not as a problem that's based on
socioeconomic class, racial background, et cetera. What are you gonna do about
it? Is it hopeless?
I personally believe that the issue, from a strictly intellectual sense, isn't
all that complicated, and I'd give you alternative social propositions that are
complicated. Racism is tough to understand and deal with 'em--deal with.
Poverty is very difficult to get a handle on, and then engineer some solution
to correct it.
You know, transforming this society to an information-based society, that's a
tough dilemma to look at. But drug abuse, we actually, turns out, have a lotta
people in this country who know what they're talking about. A bunch of 'em
aren't in this room and they publish books, and there are journals, and they're
physicians, and they're people like Avram Goldstein at Stanford University,
and, you know, they have created the science of addiction.
It turns out there's a lot that's known about it. So what's our problem? Why
don't we do something about it? It's hard to get organized in a free society.
The solutions, it turns out, involve working with institutions and people at
community level. This is what your national drug policy is. This isn't a
federal drug policy. This is the national drug policy. But the law got
rewritten. Now there is a national drug strategy that lasts for--I still call
it a 10-year strategy. Congress calls it a 5-year strategy. We put out annual
We said if you wanna solve a complex social phenomena in America, you need to
get budget considerations that are out beyond the next three months, stupid.
You need a 5-year budget horizon. That's what we do in national defense
issues. By law, we now have to have a 5-year drug budget to unite the nine
appropriations bills of the thirteen in the U.S. Congress that deal with the
drug issue. This document isn't very good. It's about a C-minus, but at least
it now exists, and if I, I get you, and people like you, and the Congress and
the news media to debate the budget in its out years, we'll get better off.
That's what we do in other important national issues.
Now I say the budget isn't very good, because if you look at the out years, it
doesn't reflect the implications of success. If we actually believe that
prevention and treatment pay off, then we should anticipate--we won't have
nearly 2 million people behind bars, 85 percent of whom have a drug-related
problem in 2007. You don't see those kinda reflections in the budget yet, but
I think as the debate starts to focus on how you move a democracy, you gotta
get that budget document, which is required by law, to reflect the actual
Now here's another one. Performance measures of effectiveness. The budget is
the input function. The strategy is the process, and here's the output
function. If you're gonna run 3M corporation or IBM, or almost any organized
human activity, you have to decide, what are you trying to achieve?
You gotta de--design the variables, you gotta measure whether you're getting
there. This is probably one of the most creative things in Government. It's
about 20 percent done. You know, we've identified 12 target outcomes. We know
the conditions we're trying to achieve in America.
There's 86 variables that have been designed to achieve the twelve outcomes,
and now we're trying to build databases to measure whether or not the strategy
and the money is achieving the output we claimed we were gonna achieve. This
is hard work. Easy to run your mouth about it, but you, you gotta organize
human activity in this nation of 270 million people, and, you know, you, you
believe in drug treatment? Well, good for you.
I'm glad to hear that, because the problem is you have to build an institution
to handle 200 or so suffering clients, and it has to be a team approach, and
there has to be a physician there to deal with nutrition problems, and HIV
positive, and you've gotta get a psychiatrist in there so we can treat your
congruent mental health problems, and you gotta have an inpatient residence
facility, and you gotta follow 'em for five years, and you gotta have
counselors, some of whom are in recovery, who have to be monitored, trained,
This is hard work. This isn't yapping and rhetoric. This is organizing health
care for 5 million chronically-addicted Americans.
Finally, you gotta bring the research community into some kind a congruent
system. There's all sorts of pieces to it. By the way, the NIH piece I think
worked spectacularly well. I'm very impressed by what they do. But there's a
lot of other pieces to it. There's 40-some-odd agencies of Government,
including law enforcement, that have to have some scheme, so that research
bucks aren't just grinding away for the fun of it. They are apparently tied to
the strategy, and that's what we're trying to do.
Finally, we've got--most of this does not happen in my office. I'm, you know,
a public policy gu--weeny, try and spur laws, public spokesperson. I chair the
President's Drug Cabinet Council. Lots of important things that I can do, but
most of this hard work has to get done in, in community level, state level,
private treatment partnerships, prevention partnerships.
What I can do is create a sensible environment to do that, and we think we're
achieving that purpose. One of your slides in there--some of us had an
interesting debate on our--is most of the money going to overseas wars in
Colombia and Bolivia?
Another one is isn't it true that nothing's changed, and that only during the
Nixon years, for cripe sakes, did we have anybody that really got the drug
issue? God. You know, the man will come back, if he hears all this praise for
his counter--counter drug effort. But, you know, let me just, if I can, tell
you, you can't argue about bucks. All right.
In FY 96 there were $13.5 billion in bucks. Today, there's $19.2 billion. And
if you look at how we invested this, there is a disproportionate increase in
drug treatment. It's actually 3.8 billion today. Five years ago, it was one
billion less. I don't think it's adequate. I just think we got half the adult
treatment capacity in the country we need. I think we got 20 percent of the
adolescent treatment capacity we need.
I think we lack parity in the health insurance industry for drug treatment and
mental health care. Outrageous, by the way, Mr. Taxpayer. You oughta stand up
for your rights. Don't let your public dollars go to pay for drug treatment
programs for my son, if I've got Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Let's, let's get some
sensible policy. But we're moving in the right direction.
You look at prevention education dollars. They've skyrocketed 52 percent.
That's the facts. And, oh, by the way, we're now down on a hearing on the
Hill, Dr. Don Vereen, my deputy, a brilliant, Harvard-trained public health
guy, physician, psychiatrist, drug research person, down there defending the
media campaign, a billion dollar, five-year program to help shape youth
attitudes toward drug abuse. We think we're moving in the right direction.
Is it working? Are there Orwellian statistics, or are there inconvenient
statistics? And the--I think the quick answer is, look, there's nothing all
that complicated about this. If we get parents and community leadership, and
law enforcement and business leadership, and those who work with youth, and
coaches and educators, and if we create attitudes among our young people, who
are listening to us--if we shape a drug-resistant culture in adolescent years,
in the outyears, drug abuse will go down.
But, now, what are we gonna do about the chronically addicted? We, we have an
irrational criminal justice and drug policy. We must link drug treatment and
criminal justice. We gotta get at the problem of the chronically poly drug
abusing felon who's actually broke into your car, and you're terribly
disappointed in his behavior. He stole your purse, or whatever. Now we gotta
do something rational about it, and we're working on that.
We brought together a national assembly, thanks to Laurie Robinson, Jerry
Travis, Janet Reno, Donna Shalala. We brought in 1100 people from all over the
country, none of whom are in this room except Laurie. They were the people who
were the corrections director from every state. They were state legislators.
They were the health directors. They came together. We had four days. We had
the Cabinet officers who were involved in it, who stayed in the room. We
produced a white paper which you have not read, and you need to get a copy of
it, and see what we're actually doing.
And now we've got state assemblies going, and we're trying to rewrite
legislation, because, by the way, it turns out, most of the drug problem has
nothing to do with the Federal Government.
If you're talking about criminal justice policy, health policy, welfare policy,
it's state legislation. You gotta go find the state capital. You got all your
NGOs, here, in Washington lobbying me. You're in the wrong place. You gotta go
to these other capitals, and try and change the law.
We're pretty optimistic. I don't know. I, you know, I wouldn't have
volunteered for this job. You know, I tell people, the only reason I got here
is 'cause the President and then the Vice President put the arm on me, and then
my dad told me to take the job. So here I am. We gotta pretty good bubble of
energy going, and we gotta lotta money flowing into some smart coffers.
Thanks very much for the opportunity to talk to you.
PROFESSOR DASH: General--thank you, General McCaffrey.
General McCaffrey is willing to answer any of your questions and we have about
15-20 minutes before we have to go back. So please, we have a microphone here.
Do we have any other microphones? Just this one microphone. If you have a
question, come up to the microphone and ask it.
DR. BOB DUPONT: I'm Bob Dupont. Thank you very much for your comments,
General McCaffrey. I wonder if you could say a little bit about the role of
Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous in the War On Drugs.
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Well, Bob, as usual, thanks for the question, slash,
comment. One of the first things Bob, Bob's book does, and he personally told
me, you better start going to AA meetings. You better go learn about the magic
of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, this invisible web of support
structures. I've done that innumerable times. I now believe that regardless of
how badly you wish to beat alcohol and heroin, and occasional marijuana, no
matter how brilliant the program at the Hazelton [ph] Institute, the Betty Ford
Center, the Village--name it--that you were in residential treatment for six
months, when you go back to your community, sister or brother, you better be
going to AA or NA, daily, and then continue until you're beyond the five year
survival rate, and then keep going again.
Thank God for AA and NA. We need more. Now I don't wanna hear any discussion
about, well, let the churches and AA, NA, handle the problems of 14 million
past month drug users. Oh, no, no, no. We need federal dollars and more of 'em
in drug treatment and prevention, and education. But thank God for AA.
DR. ARNOLD TREEBACH [ph]: Arnold Treebach. General McCaffrey, I want
to congratulate you and your fine staff on an incredible amount of work. This
is, as you say, an enormously difficult problem, and you are really giving it
an enormous effort. I think you will also agree that there are many
differences of opinion about how to deal with it.
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Sure.
DR. TREEBACH: I would suppose that you and I represent polar opposites
on many issues.
GENERAL McCAFFREY: I hope so.
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Well said.
DR. TREEBACH: However, if we look for compromise, which I think is the
essence of American politics.
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Sure.
DR. TREEBACH: It's the essence of our life. We, we must find
compromise points. One of the points that we seek for compromise on is in the
medical arena, and from my side, there's become a push, a compromise push for
the medical use of certain banned drugs, particularly medical marijuana. Now
people, in a number of states, have voted in favor of it.
It would seem to me, that this would be a perfect time for you and the Federal
Government to come forward and say let's work out compromises.
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Yeah. Well, thanks, Doc Treebach. The--you know,
medical marijuana simply isn't a huge issue in my view. Matter of fact, as
long as you say "medical," don't talk to me, talk to the CDC, talk to the NIH.
I fully support the current U.S. policy, which says that if you allege you have
therapeutic benefit with a chemical compound, you go to NIH, where they
demonstrate through clinical trials safe and effective use for, for certain
indications, and we--I paid a million bucks to have the American Academy of
Science Institute of Medicine conduct a study.
I fully support the study. It's on our Web page. The study said a couple a
things. One, it says, smoked marijuana isn't medicine and won't be. It's a, a
burning compound that starts with 400-plus chemical compounds, that ends up
with more than 2,000. It puts unknown dose rates of 35 some odd cannabinoids
into your serum levels. It spikes serum levels and it causes--it's
carcinogenic, and it doesn't help with glaucoma, and, oh, by the way, though,
there may be benefit in cannabinoid-based drug treatment for certain
subpopulations, particularly for those who don't respond to available drug
therapy, and in combination with other drugs. We agree.
So synthetic THC de--is now available in pharmacies, prescription through your
DR. TREEBACH: Okay, but one last point. Would you ask the Federal
Government to ease up on its enforcement efforts about--
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Well, look.
DR. TREEBACH: --against patients and doctors.
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Look. This is sort of a phony issue in my view.
First of all, I'm not the Attorney General and most--99 percent of criminal law
in the United States is informed by people like former Commissioner Safir, not
the U.S. Attorney General, and--but I--you know, I actually, I used to say, and
I'm not sure I can say that anymore, that probably in the history of the
country, there's been no doctor arrested solely for talking about medical
marijuana. I mean, I don't care what they talk about. I don't actually care too
much about medical marijuana.
By the way, I also think this whole medical marijuana thing's a crock, by and
large. I actually--you know, I look at people and I say you gotta be able to
tell me with a straight face, that you actually think, you know, a prostate
cancer patient is gonna ask for a giant blunt to get stuck in his face in the
ICU ward to handle pain management. Come on. I've been there. And by the
way, we've a problem in American medicine 'cause they don't think pain kills
you, and so they don't do it very well.
PROFESSOR DASH: Let's have our next question.
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Yes, please.
ERIC STERLING: General, Eric Sterling from the Criminal Justice Policy
I compliment you for you willing to take questions from an audience such as
The--you spoke about the performance measurements of, of evaluation, and it's a
very interesting document. You called it one of the most creative things in
Government. You mentioned the twelve drug strategy impact targets that you
wanted to do, you know, things--you know, just to review a couple of them.
Reduce the number of chronic drug users by 20 percent by 2002. Reduce the
availability of illicit drugs in the United States by 25 percent by 2002.
Reduce the rate of shipment of illicit drugs from source zones by 15 percent by
But in the document, for example, with respect to the number of drug users, it
says, "At this point, no official survey-based Government estimate of the size
of this drug-using population exists."
So you're proposing to reduce a number, precisely, that you don't know what it
Or, for example, you know, with respect to the supply of drugs into the U.S.,
the problem is there are no official Government estimates of the available
supply of drugs in the U.S.
But that's a number you're telling the Congress you're going to reduce by a
precise amount, by a precise number--
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Mr. Sterling, I wonder if--because I know a bunch of
people are lined up behind you, let me--
MR. STERLING: I'm not--I, I--
PROFESSOR DASH [?]: What's--
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Yeah; just get to the question.
MR. STERLING: I was fi--you don't need to interrupt me, General. But I
under--I, I know how to frame a question. I just wanted to lay it out.
GENERAL McCAFFREY: [inaudible] get over it. Take a deep breath.
MR. STERLING: And the point, the point simply is, I mean, you, you--you
seem to be an expert in identifying what a "crock" is, and I'm curious to know
how you can go to the Congress and say you're gonna reduce these things by said
amounts when you have no idea what the actual number is. Doesn't that smell
like a "crock" to you?
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Well, actually, we've got some, as I said, some real
problems with agreeing on the facts. We oughta have a dialogue where the
Congress, the administration, the state governments, treatment professionals,
agree on fundamental facts, and, by and large, that's been lacking.
Now I would also suggest to you that we've gotten a lot further, 'cause we
brought in some of the most noted scientists, epidemiologists, mathematicians,
statistical people in the country. We've identified the gaps in our data.
I would also suggest to you, though, that whenever I use a stat, I know where
it came from, and I'll--normally, if we have an extended dialogue, I'll tell
you the limitations of the stat I'm using.
For example, numbers like heroin addiction. You can find numbers that go from
255,000 up to the one I'm currently using, 980,000, if I remember the last time
we updated it, and those are all valid scientific studies.
If you do the household survey, you don't count people sleeping under a bridge,
if you--or people in the armed forces. So there are limitations on the data.
But having said that, I would argue we have, through six major federally-funded
studies, a pretty good handle, consistent patterns of data on who's using drugs
in America, between Don, Duff, Adam--we know, by and large, who comes in the
hospital emergency rooms, who's arrested, what drugs they claim they have.
When it comes to drug production, although we've got some very soft numbers
like marijuana production, we've got some very hard numbers like cocaine and
heroin, where, by and large, we're reasonably terms of reporting to Congress,
we actually do produce written reports that we put on the Web, that we will
footnote and stand behind
SANJO TREE: Sanjo Tree from the Institute for Policy Studies. I direct
the drug policy project there. You began your talk by--mentioning that
addiction is a medical condition. You praised Dr. Leshner, who refers to this
as a brain disease, and you talk about science-based policies as a response to
My question is for what other form of illness do we incarcerate people for
punitive mea--punitive reasons? Is it an appropriate response to a health--
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Yeah.
MR. TREE: --problem? And if that is, then why don't we--
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Yeah.
MR. TREE: --criminalize other forms of, of, of health conditions, like
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Yeah.
MR. TREE: We're all opposed to it.
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Yeah.
MR. TREE: Why don't we set an example and, and--
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Yeah.
MR. TREE: --lock up a few kids?
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Well, one of the--thank you for that question. One
of the--I think there's a false logic there, to be honest, but, but I offer you
some of the material that we put in the packet. By and large, the, the big
problem in America isn't that we'll arrest you for personal possession of 2
grams of heroin 'cause you've been chronically addicted for ten years.
The big problem of poly drug abuse in America is you look at the couple a
million folks behind bars--is that many of them--studies vary--somewhere
between 50 and 85 percent have an arrest sheet that says burglary or traffic
accidents, or whatever. But the problem is they're chronically abusing alcohol
and illegal drugs.
And so, in that sense, the real problem isn't letting 'em outta jail or putting
'em in jail. It's effectively addressing their chronic addiction through
But, mostly, Americans don't get arrested, certainly by the Federal Government
for simple possession of, of drugs they are personally abusing.
I'd also suggest to you that--
MR. TREE: They're close to a half million--
GENERAL McCAFFREY: I'd also suggest to you--
MR. TREE: --prisoners in this country.
GENERAL McCAFFREY: --that the--one of the problems is that, of course
at federal level, 22 percent--excuse me--at state level, 22 percent of the
people are behind bars for drug-related crimes. By and large, the people who
get arrested are for sales, not for personal use or chronic addiction.
And, now, if you're looking for an analogy of, Does anyone else get arrested
for a medical problem? try driving drunk tonight and killing somebody, and we
will arrest you and prosecute you, not for being an alcoholic but for causing
severe social harm.
So your, your--there's actually a good base to your question but I'd ask you to
move your concern to how do we get effective drug treatment, the criminal
justice system. That's the problem. Not busting somebody for two joints.
PROFESSOR DASH: We're gonna have to move to the next question, please.
We are--our, our time is short.
DEBORAH PETERSON-SMALL: Well, I had planned to ask a different question
but given what you just said, I have to kind of follow up with what Sanjo asked
you about. My name is Deborah Peterson-Small [ph]. I'm director of public
policy for the Linda Smith Center Drug Policy Foundation, and, you know, when
you spoke earlier on, you talked about the fact that the traditional view, or
the contemporary view of a person with a substance abuse problem is a minority
person, inner city, et cetera. And yet you categorically stated here today
that that isn't so. And yet when you look around the country at our prisons to
see who--which people are incarcerated for drug offenses, they are
overwhelmingly minority people, people from inner city poor communities, and I
have to contrast what you just said. A good many of them are there for
drug-only offenses, and a good number of them are there for--
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Personal possession for--
MS. PETERSON-SMALL: --possessing, possess--
GENERAL McCAFFREY: --addictive drugs is what I was responding to the
MS. PETERSON-SMALL: Possession-only offenses, and so I wanna ask you why
it is that you've gone on record opposing Proposition 36, which is directed
specifically at doing diversion for first- and second-time drug only--
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Yeah. Okay; got it.
MS. PETERSON-SMALL: --possess--
GENERAL McCAFFREY: We're gonna run outta time. Proposition 36, in
California, is a pretty cleverly-worded proposition, 94 percent of which I
fully agree with. It's based on some very sound harm reduction principles that
get at the whole point that if you're chronically abusing cocaine and booze,
and other drugs, that you must be in effective drug treatment and simply
locking you up in a prison environment where they may have access to drugs
isn't gonna help.
And so, to that extent, we would support it. The problem with it is, very
deviously, there were two things stuck in the proposition, in my view, one of
which said no money spent on drug testing, and those of us who know about the
process of addiction know the chances of the drug court system working, this
miracle that we've taken from a dozen drug courts, and more than seven hundred,
that if you can't call me in and drug test me three times a week, and give me a
tongue lashing because I flunked it, too--if you can't do that, you're, you
just don't understand--
MS. PETERSON-SMALL: Well, what happens to middle class--
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Let me--there's two parts to the answer.
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Excuse me. One of them is, one of them is a lack of
money, access for drug testing. The second one says, again, very cleverly, and
seemingly in a, in a sort of an innocent manner, until the third arrest, you
can't put me behind bars. Now--
MS. PETERSON-SMALL: Now what's wrong with that?
GENERAL McCAFFREY: --we've learned from dealing with chronic addiction
that, you know, as--actually, I've heard--hopefully Bob Dupont won't mind me
sort of quoting him--that he gets happy when he hears that one of his
chronically addition--addicted patients has been arrested, 'cause this puts you
on the road to recovery.
So we don't think that the deputy sheriffs of America, the cops at 2:00 o'clock
in the morning, are going to bother to enforce control of the law on the
streets, if they know it's the third time before you'll go behind bars for 24
hours. Those two propositions, we think, are gonna ruin the drug court system.
So we're opposed and so I think will be most people that listen to the actual
concerns of the--
PROFESSOR DASH: I think we're just gonna have to go to the next-
J.C. SANALISIS [ph]: My name is J.C. Sanalisis and I'm with the
Guatemala Human Rights Commission, and I wanted to talk a little bit about your
statistics. I want to thank you for putting these great packets together.
However, the danger in using information and statistics is that they can be
used against you, in turn.
Your statistics themselves here show that the drug war in Latin America is not
working. The cocaine use has not gone down, it's gone up, and you've been--
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Cocaine use?
MS. SANALISIS: Cocaine--yeah; right--
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Use or production?
MS. SANALISIS:: Cocaine use. There was bad news for new cocaine
users for 1998, you said.
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Oh, I see; yeah.
MS. SANALISIS: And the--what the--your office has been priding
itself on is coca eradication in Latin America, and Bolivia, Peru, Colombia.
And my concern is that within the past week and a half, ten civilians have died
in Bolivia because of the drug war. Many more have died in Colombia, and many
more will continue to die unless our policy changes.
My question is how many more civil--innocent and unarmed civilians have to die
before we realize our policy is not working.
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Yeah.
The--well, I think many people, right-thinking people share your concern about
the real tragedy that's engulfed 40 million people. Colombia, I've been going
there, off and on, since I was a lieutenant in the Army. I have great sympathy
for them. The overwhelming majority of 'em have nothing to do with drug
production or drug use. They grow flowers and coffee beans.
There--there's a million of 'em who are internal refugees, a half million of
'em have fled the country. They're a 3-hour flight from Miami. You know, it's
just a dreadful situation, and a lot of it's caused by, in our view, 26,000
heavily armed insurgents, narco insurgents from the far right to the far left,
who are destroying Colombian democratic institutions--
MS. SANALISIS: But we're killing civilians.
GENERAL McCAFFREY: You, you get to ask the question, and I get to give
you the answer.
PROFESSOR DASH: Yeah; we can't have a debate.
GENERAL McCAFFREY: See, this is called a, you know, a response.
PROFESSOR DASH: Yeah; just a--
GENERAL McCAFFREY: And--
PROFESSOR DASH: --short question; short answer.
GENERAL McCAFFREY: And so what are we gonna do about it? Well, one of
the things--one of our--by the way, the drug production rates, interestingly
enough, have gone down, dramatically. A lotta Americans aren't aware of that.
But Peru has [cut] drug--coca production by about 65 percent. Bolivia, to my
almost disbelief, has decreased coca production by well over 55 percent.
There's actually been a net reduction of cocaine production in the Andean Ridge
in the past four years.
The Colombian program actually worked in eastern Colombia, and we saw a
movement of some 16,000 people in drug production into the southern part of
Colombia, a largely uninhabited part of the nation, not much of an
infrastructure road network, government presence, where now we see these
murderous rightists, the paramilitary forces, the FARC, the ELN, with lots of
shining machine guns, and, and buying international representation, who are
gonna be confronted by Colombian authorities.
PROFESSOR DASH: I'm afraid I'm gonna have to disappoint most of you. We
just have time for one more question, if we're to be able to have the afternoon
session as scheduled.
MR. SMYTH: I am Frank Smyth with the Center For Public Integrity.
General, I have a follow-up question--
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Sure.
MR. SMYTH: --related to Colombia. You've been very instrumental in the
policy in Colombia. It's been near, dear to your heart, ever since you were
SOUTHCOM commander. The American people have been told that the aid going to
Colombia is, is to support the drug war. But there's considerable evidence
that what--that the aid is really being used as a cover for counterinsurgency
activities targeted at the FARC. Could you respond to that allegation,
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Yeah. Well, you know, I think it's, again, it's a
legitimate concern, and there was a pretty good, an open debate of various
viewpoints in U.S. Congress, which did pass a two-year $1.3 billion package.
The package goes to many Andean Ridge nations; it's not just Colombia.
About 80 percent of it goes to Colombia, of which half goes in a mobility
package to the Colombian police and armed forces to buy 18 Blackhawk
helicopters, or less, and 45 Huey 2's.
So there's gonna be funding in there for Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador,
Venezuela. There's a huge chunk a money in there for three forward-operating
locations. The driving nexus of all these--there's $5 million in there, in
there to enhance human rights security monitoring in Colombia. There's money
in there to develop the Colombian judicial system. There's money in there to
try and better provide common rules of evidence among Latin America nations.
It's a pretty coherent program, and, by the way, our piece, 1.3 billion, is
part of Plan Colombia, which is the, the Colombian government's output, which
is $7.5 billion, and that's a 3-year plan that involves 4.5 million--$4.5
billion of their money and the rest of it's either U.S., European Union, Japan,
It's pretty long term, it's coherent and balanced. Our own view is that we
ought to support Colombian democratic institutions to confront the drug
You know, a year--three years ago, there was a lot less coca and heroin in this
country than there is now.
It's gone up 140 percent in three years. They're now producing 520 metric tons
of cocaine. They're producing eight metric tons of heroin. That's the
And outta that comes some--there's a debate over numbers--how much money flows
outta that. Well, the DEA and I think on this end, $57 billion a year gets
spent on illegal drugs by 6 percent of the population.
On the other end, my guess is somewhere between 500 million and a billion flows
into the FARC, the ELN, the paramilitaries, and gives them this absolute
blowtorch capability to create violence and misery in Colombia. We're proud to
stand with them.
PROFESSOR DASH: Thank you, General McCaffrey. I'm sorry we had to cut
it. I'm sorry we had to cut the questions, and General McCaffrey has been a
good solider in standing up here and--
GENERAL McCAFFREY: Let me, let me have one final comment. Go get on the
Web pages. If you wanna find out the facts, go to these eight Web pages, and
then network into NIDA, SAMSA [ph], Columbia University, Pennsylvania Medical
College. Go find out the facts and have an informed debate.
And Professor Dash, thank you--
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