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Last Updated:6/25/00
Statement of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), as read by Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minnesota), June 21, 2000
Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, I have a copy of Senator Leahy's statement. I am going to read a little from Senator Leahy's statement. This is just a portion of his statement:

I have repeatedly expressed concerns about the administration's proposal, particularly the dramatic increase in military assistance. I am troubled about what we may be getting into. The administration has yet to give me sufficient details about what it expects to achieve, in what period of time, what the long-term costs are, or what the risks are.

That is, of course, part of the position that a number of us have taken today. I thank Senator Leahy, who has a tremendous amount of expertise in this area, for his statement. He goes on to say:

I commend Senator Wellstone for his amendment. It would provide $225 million for substance abuse prevention and treatment programs in the United States.

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, drug abuse kills 52,000 Americans each year. It costs our society nearly $110 billion annually. It has strained the capacity of our criminal justice system and our medical facilities, and brought violence and tragedy to families, schools, and communities throughout this country.

I could not have said it better. Mr. President, 80 percent of adolescents who need treatment--those who will, if not provided treatment, sustain the demands for drugs in the future--today in our country cannot get it. Some 50 percent of adults in our country who are in need of a drug treatment program are not receiving it. Many treatment programs have lines out the door.

And the conclusion of Senator Leahy's statement:

We should help Colombia. I support President Pastrana's efforts to combat the violence, corruption, and poverty which plagues his country. But I am not convinced the administration's request for `Plan Colombia' will effectively address those problems, nor is it likely to reduce the flow of drugs into our country or ameliorate the drug problem here at home.

We do know, however, that substance abuse treatment and prevention programs work. A frequently cited Rand study showed that, dollar for dollar, providing treatment for cocaine users is 10 times more effective than drug interdiction efforts, and 23 times more effective than eradicating coca at its source. Scientific advances promise to make treatment and prevention programs even better. Ultimately, reducing the demand for drugs--which is what these programs do--is the only long-term solution to reducing the flow of illegal drugs from Colombia and elsewhere.

Mr. President, I commend Senator Wellstone--

Nice of him to say--
for his leadership on this issue and I urge other Senators to support his amendment.

I urge other Senators to support this amendment.

I yield the floor.

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