This is an August 2007 copy of a website maintained by the Center for International Policy. It is posted here for historical purposes. The Center for International Policy no longer maintains this resource.

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Last Updated:6/25/00
Speech by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan), June 21, 2000
Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, I reluctantly oppose the Wellstone amendment to transfer $225 million from the military purposes of Plan Colombia to domestic substance abuse programs. The passage of this amendment would endanger the success of the Administration's plan to attempt to prevent the democratic government of Colombia from being destroyed by narco-traffickers. While I strongly support the goal of allocating additional funding to substance abuse prevention and treatment programs, this cannot be achieved at the expense of the effectiveness of Plan Colombia.

In solving the difficult problem of drug abuse and its many negative effects, the United States must seek a balanced approach. This approach must include funding for not only drug abuse prevention and treatment programs, but also for international eradication/interdiction and local law enforcement. Plan Colombia, which stresses eradication and interdiction of narcotics at their source, is a useful part of our nation's overall strategy to end drug abuse.

Colombia now supplies approximately 80 percent of the cocaine and heroin consumed in the United States. The Plan Columbia aid package, which has been designed by the Administration and the Colombian government, is a comprehensive attempt to stem this flow of narcotics. The package includes important funding for counter-narcotics support, economic development, and human rights programs.

A particularly important goal of this initiative is the promotion and protection of human rights in the Andean Region. In this respect, the Senate Foreign Operations Appropriations bill makes important contributions. The bill provides approximately $138 million in funding for efforts to protect human rights, strengthen the judicial system in Colombia, and support peace initiatives. In addition, all assistance to Colombian armed forces is contingent on a screening of security forces to ensure that they have not been implicated in human rights violations.

Drug abuse has taken a terrible toll on our country. It has led to increased levels of crime, a clogged judicial system, and most dramatically, the ruined lives of our nation's citizens and their families. It is for this reason that I am committed to effective drug abuse and treatment. I have worked hard to win Senate passage of legislation which would enable qualified physicians, under strict conditions, to prescribe new anti-addiction medications aimed at suppressing heroin addiction. I have also strongly supported government funding for state and local community-based programs for drug treatment. In Fiscal Year 1999, the federal government spent approximately $5.6 billion on domestic programs directed at the reduction of drug demand.

As of June 25, 2000, this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r106:S21JN0-36:
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