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Last Updated:3/31/00
Speech by Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pennsylvania), March 29, 2000
Mr. FATTAH. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, we have proceeded in this conversation as if it is an either/or proposition. I would argue that it really is not.

The purpose for this complaint and the protest is that we wanted an amendment made in order for the gentlewoman from California so that we could put it into the supplemental appropriation to increase resources for drug treatment.

Now, it is true that a large amount of cocaine and heroin travels from Colombia to this country, but it is also true that those are not the only drugs that are causing problems for us here in America. There are domestically generated drugs, like methamphetamines. There are all kinds of other drugs. We have a serious problem of marijuana being grown here domestically. There are household inhalants that our children are using and, in some cases, killing themselves and destroying their potential.

So it is not just a matter of cocaine or heroin, number one, when we talk about drugs.

The question of treatment is a question of common sense and cost-effectiveness. We know that treatment works. We know that there are millions of Americans, 3 million in the latest study, that do not have access to treatment. We know that in most cities and in rural areas, not only do families not have access to the person in the family who needs help, but they do not have any opportunity for the counseling and the support that they need.

We know that drug addiction causes divorce, home foreclosures, lack of productivity in the workplace. We know that this problem of drugs is a serious problem throughout our society, and that we should not be here today talking about on the one hand, we only want to deal with the problem in Colombia, and on the other hand, we will wait for another day to deal with the questions and the challenges of drug treatment here in this country.

Mr. Chairman, all of our law enforcement officials tell us that even those people incarcerated do not have access in the majority to treatment programs for drug and alcohol abuse. We know that the National Institute of Justice did a study that shows that in our major cities more than 80 percent of the crime is drug driven.

So the question for us has to be, as a Congress why can we not in a supplemental appropriation that is wide ranging, it is not just dealing with the question of Colombia, it is dealing with emergencies in North Carolina, it is dealing with a whole range of questions, why was it not fitting in the sense of the majority to make an amendment made in order so that we could talk about increased resources in an area in which so many people on both sides of the aisle see the need.


[TIME: 1715]

If it was someone in our family, someone in our community, someone that we have come in contact with that needed treatment, we want to make sure that they have access to it. We should feel the same for those 3 million Americans out there today, and make sure that they have access to real treatment opportunities.

As of March 30, 2000, this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r106:H29MR0-173:

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