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Last Updated:3/31/00
Speech by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-California), March 29, 2000
[Page: H1539]
Ms. WOOLSEY. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the Pelosi amendment, and I thank the gentlewoman for offering this amendment because we desperately need to address the growing demand for drugs here in our own country, and we must address drug treatment programs.

Today, we are spending time, a lot of time, debating whether to appropriate funds to fight the supply side of the narcotics problem in Colombia. This debate is not complete unless we also tackle the connection between America's growing demand for drugs from other countries, like Colombia. In order for our international drug control policy to succeed, our drug policy must be balanced. It cannot focus only on supply reduction.

We must also include demand reduction right here at home. To do this, we must incorporate the Pelosi amendment, as it rightly addresses the treatment gap on this side of the hemisphere. This amendment will expand our country's existing infrastructure for treatment. This investment will leverage additional local and State funds. It will strengthen State and local coordination and help to integrate service delivery. This funding will help our youth avoid a life of drugs and treat current drug users to help them turn their lives around. The amendment focuses on youth, while allowing communities to invest these funds according to local priorities.

Every day our children are bombarded with suggestive messages and opportunities to take drugs. Effective prevention programs engage youth interactively, involve parents and families, and start at a young age to build skills and reinforce a message over the long term. While children are only 25 percent of our population, they are 100 percent of our future. We must address their future. We must address the future of all children, particularly those involved in or at risk of drug abuse.

Mr. Chairman, this Congress needs to refocus its priorities. Each $1 invested in drug abuse prevention will save $15 in reduced health, justice and other societal costs. Each $1 invested in drug use prevention will save communities $4 to $5 in costs for drug abuse counseling and treatment.

Mr. Chairman, we need to put people before weapons systems. For the total cost of each of the requests of 30 Blackhawk helicopters, we could treat 5,173 substance abusers or provide prevention services to 111,494 American children. If this Congress can fund $1.3 billion for `Plan Colombia' to reduce supply internationally, we can surely afford to fund treatment services and prevention programs to reduce demand here in America.

I urge my colleagues to support the Pelosi amendment and support our youth.

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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