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The Honorable Orrin Hatch
March 5, 2002
Mr. Chairman, first I want to thank you for taking the time to chair this hearing today for four critical executive branch nominees. I want to join Senator Biden in welcoming all of our nominees to today's hearing. Our sole Justice Department nominee, Mr. John Robert Flores, has been selected to be Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, an arm of the Department of Justice whose mission is to prevent and respond to our youth's delinquency problems. We are also fortunate to have today the three nominees to be Deputy Directors of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, ONDCP. In selecting Scott Burns-a Utahn, who I personally know is up to the task-to handle State and Local Affairs, Dr. Barry Crane to head the Office of Supply Reduction, and Mary Ann Solberg to be the Deputy Czar, the President has assembled an excellent team of dedicated and knowledgeable professionals. I commend President Bush for his willingness to confront the issue of drug use, especially among our youth, and ensure him that I will support him, Director Walters, and their fine team before us today in their efforts.
Mary Ann Solberg has over 25 years of community service under her belt, and we should be grateful that she has agreed to accept the President's call to serve as Deputy Czar. She chairs the Advisory Commission on Drug-Free Communities, serves in an advisory capacity to the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, and is a Board member of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America. She has been recognized on numerous occasions for her dedicated work with families and communities to prevent youth drug use. She is supported by numerous treatment and prevention groups, including the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America. I am confident she will continue her hard work in preventing youth drug use once confirmed.
Dr. Barry Crane also has a long history in combating drug use. Dr. Crane has served as a Project Leader for Counterdrug Research at the Institute of Defense Analyses for the last ten years. He served in the United States Air Force for 24 years where he piloted fighter jets and earned a distinguished combat record. He is eager to bring his knowledge and experience to ONDCP to help reduce the supply of illegal drugs coming into America.
Scott Burns also has had extensive experience with combating the trafficking in and manufacturing of illegal drugs. As the Iron County Prosecutor in southern Utah for the past 12 years, he has worked closely with law enforcement and community groups to stem the rising use of Methamphetamine and other dangerous drugs. He started Utah's first narcotics task force, the model of which has been repeatedly used to form other successful narcotics task forces around the state. Scott has proven that he can bring people together to work for a common cause, and I am confident he will make an excellent Deputy for State and Local Affairs.
We all agree that if we are to win the war on drugs in America, we need a comprehensive policy aimed at reducing both the demand for and supply of drugs. I was not surprised that the President's $19.2 billion anti-drug budget is supported by a comprehensive National Drug Control Strategy that sets clear and specific national goals for reducing drug use in America. The Strategy is based on three core principles: 1) Stopping drug use before it starts; 2) Healing America's drug users; and 3) Disrupting the drug market. Prevention, treatment, and interdiction, the three integral components of an effective drug control strategy, will all play a pivotal role in realizing the President's recently announced goals to reduce illegal drug use by 10 percent over 2 years, and by 25 percent over 5 years. These goals apply both to drug use among young Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 and among adults.
I am confident that these goals can and will be achieved through the tenacious work of our dedicated law enforcement agencies, community coalitions, educators, biomedical researchers, clergy, and, most importantly, caring families. However, achieving such goals will be an uphill battle considering it will require reversing a decade long trend of dramatic rises in youth drug use. And, although overall drug use has appeared to level off over the past few years, it has done so at unacceptably high levels. Additionally, youth use of particular drugs has never stabilized. According to the most recent national surveys, youth drug use of so-called "club drugs" such as Ecstasy and GHB, has been steadily rising for some time. Since 1997, use of ecstasy among 12th graders has increased dramatically by 130 percent. It is simply shocking that by the time of graduation from high school, 54 percent of our youth have used an illicit drug. We must act immediately to reverse these soaring numbers, and I look forward to hearing our panelists' ideas on how we can bring down these numbers.
I am excited about the team of determined and no-nonsense professionals this President has selected. His Drug Strategy is aggressive, but that is what we need and the youth of this country deserve. In this regard, I am very interested to hear from Ms. Solberg how she intends to use her vast experience with, and knowledge of, community coalitions and parents groups to implement the President's Strategy and to improve prevention efforts across the country.
Furthermore, I know that the President has proposed to disrupt the drug market at home and abroad. Domestically, attacking the economic basis of the drug trade involves the cooperative, combined efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement. Internationally, we must continue to target the supply of illegal drugs in the source countries. I look forward to hearing specifically from Mr. Burns and Dr. Crane on what ideas they have to achieve this goal.
Mr. Chairman, last year I introduced S. 304, the "Drug Abuse Education, Prevention, and Treatment Act of 2001," a bipartisan bill, that I drafted with Senator Leahy, you, and Senators DeWine, Thurmond, and Feinstein. The legislation, as you well know, seeks to increase dramatically prevention and treatment efforts, and I remain confident that S. 304 will become law this session. I am eager to get our panelists' views on this legislation to the extent they are familiar with it and to learn what additional measures they believe should be undertaken by Congress to assist in our efforts on curbing drug abuse.
Mr. Chairman, Robert Flowers, Utah Commissioner of Public Safety, is here today to introduce and support Mr. Burns. As head of State law enforcement activity, Commissioner Flowers played an integral role in ensuring the security and success of the Salt Lake Winter Olympic games. Commissioner Flowers and his Deputy have come 2,500 miles to support Scott and I ask if you might allow him to introduce Scott along with the first panel. I am so proud of him. He was the key coordinator of the numerous federal, state, and local agencies involved in the Olympic's security. Given the success of the games and the security provided, I, and the nation, owe Bob a much deserved thank you.
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