3668 Bonita View Drive., Bonita, Ca. 91902 (619) 475 9941/475 9942 email firstname.lastname@example.org
To: President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
CC: Vice President Joe Biden
Director of The Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske
Dear Mr. President:
We, an international coalition of drug prevention professionals and organizations throughout the world, many with over thirty years of experience, believe that the nation’s problems of health, academic achievement, crime, welfare and resultant impacts on the federal and state budgets cannot be resolved without focusing on the root cause of all of these problems ….. alcohol, tobacco and other drugs (hereinafter ATOD). We therefore call upon the President of the United States to reduce the demand for ATOD as follows:
• Almost all of our nation’s problems, are caused by or made worse by alcohol, tobacco
and illicit drugs. (hereinafter ATOD).
• In your first term of four years, unless there is a radical shift to prevent the disease of addiction, the nation will incur $2.4 TRILLION in cost and an estimated 2.8 MILLION AMERICANS WILL DIE from tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs and misuse of legal drugs.
• Addiction to ATOD is a “pediatric onset disease” (Dr. Barthwell, former Deputy Director of ONDCP). Almost all addiction begins with adolescents, aged 11 to 18 years old.
• If a young person reaches age 21 prior to first significant use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs, they should virtually never have a problem. (Joseph Califano Jr., Chairman of CASA)
• Just as we inoculate for measles, small pox, polio and other diseases, if we universally employ the best known prevention methods we can significantly reduce the level of death, destruction and economic cost of health care, and increase academic achievement and productivity.
• America has 5% of the world’s population, yet we consume 65% of illicit drugs. Over 2000 young people start smoking tobacco daily, 50% of whom will die from it, and in the process of dying will inflict enormous costs on society for health care. 50% of adolescents use drugs and alcohol, 25% frequently.
• Demand for drugs fuels the drug cartels which in turn financially underwrite terrorism and corruption in Mexico and throughout the world. Reducing demand is of equal importance to interdicting supply, and no longer an option if the nation is to effectively win the war on drugs.
• The High School Drop Out Rate – UC Santa Barbara recently concluded a study showing the average drop out rate in California is 24.2%. Each class of drop outs (127,000 students) cost California taxpayers $46.4 billion …. $365,000 PER DROP OUT, as two thirds will end up on welfare, in prison, and/or burdening public health care. Nationally there are 1.2 million high school drop outs (www.edweek.org). If the same cost figure applies as in California, the ANNUAL NATIONAL COST FOR HIGH SCHOOL DROP OUTS IS $438 BILLION.
• The Cost of Substance Abuse – NIDA reported in 2006 that the annual cost of illicit drugs to the nation was $181 billion, and when combined with alcohol they exceed $500 billion, which includes costs for healthcare, criminal justice and lost productivity. Add tobacco, and the figure is over $700 billion a year … SOON TO BE ONE TRILLION DOLLARS A YEAR.
• Criminal Activity/Prison Overcrowding – Drugs and alcohol are implicated in roughly 85% of all crime. 80% of prison inmates are high school drop outs. Unless corrective measures are taken to improve the high school drop out rate, the social and economic costs to society will increase as the employment, crime, welfare and health care costs increase.
• Death Rate – According to The Center for Disease Control, overdose deaths in 2006 amounted to 3,042 deaths a month. In 1998, the last year total drug deaths were quantified, overdose deaths were only 27% of the total and drug related deaths comprised the balance. If that holds true today, 2,620 Americans die weekly from drugs….. almost the equivalent of 9/11, every week. But tobacco trumps them all, with 1200 deaths a day.
• Treatment vs Prevention – NIDA reported in 2006 23.6 million persons aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol (9.6% of persons aged 12 or older), and only 2.5 million actually got treatment. Every dollar spent on addiction treatment returned $4 to $7 dollars in reduction of drug-related crimes. While treatment is economically sound, and necessary, the savings in human lives, misery and costs from PREVENTING the problem to begin with could save HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS ANNUALLY.
• States (and we think the federal government) spend 113 times as much to clean up the devastation that substance abuse visits on children as they do to prevent and treat it.” (Joseph Califano; 2001 Study called Shoveling Up: The Impact of Substance Abuse on State Budgets). This is appalling economic and social policy.
• “The primary responsibility for the protection of its people does lie with the state itself …. and, prevention is the single most important dimension of the responsibility to protect. “(George Soros, The Bubble of American Supremacy)
• Parents are considered to be the number one factor in determining a child’s at-risk behavior. However, parents are unable to protect all children without federal help. 56% of kids in American children are at moderate to high risk of substance abuse (CASA) and the only plausible way to ensure that all children are protected is with federally mandated and approved school-based drug prevention programs in all schools combined with improved education for students and their parents on the pharmacology of drugs.
• We cannot rely on persuasion to get 17,000 school boards in America to make the right choices to defer the onset of ATOD and protect kids. A federal mandate is required to direct schools to protect all kids using the best known prevention techniques starting with non-punitive random drug testing.
• ATOD is a national problem, that inflicts more death, destruction and economic cost on this nation than all other forms of terrorism combined. It makes no sense to focus on terrorism alone, or a war in Iraq that claimed 3,000 soldiers in four years, when 3,000 Americans die monthly just from drug overdose, not to mention a cost of $200 billion a year just for drugs ( $600 billion if one adds alcohol and tobacco.)
• Two of the most important responsibilities of all elected officials are to protect the people, and manage tax dollars intelligently.
• Schools, by virtue of the fact they house 98.5% of adolescents, are critical in terms of shoring up the shortfalls in parenting. A federal mandate for schools to implement the best known prevention practices is an absolute necessity to protect all kids.
• In large part due to drugs and alcohol, there are 6.1 million children in America being raised by grandparents or foster parents; 1.6 million of those are in foster homes.
• China has more children getting straight A’s in school than all of the kids in the school system in America combined, and 1.2 million kids in America don’t even graduate from high school. (Capt Len Kaine, Retired) We cannot retain our competitive position in the world if this is not corrected.
THEREFORE we request President Obama and the Administration to take the following actions to reduce the demand for alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs:
1) Implement a Demand Reduction Program in all schools for grades 6 through 12 to include:
A) A requirement for non-punitive random drug testing for ALL STUDENTS aged 11 to
17 years old. This is the best known tool for deterring the onset of ATOD use. It keeps kids in the system, gives them a reason to say no to peer pressure, takes the burden off teachers and the administration to play drug cop, identifies problems early so kids can get help if needed, keeps law enforcement out of the equation, gets parents involved when problems arise, decreases juvenile problems, and enhances academic achievement and graduation rates.
B) Use the best known practices to keep alcohol, tobacco and other drugs off campus.
According to CASA research, the propensity to use is 5 times greater if ATOD is readily available on campuses.
C) Strive to get Student Assistant Programs (SAP) and effective counselors on each campus, to
fill the void in many young people’s lives caused by the lack of effective parenting.
D) Continue with educational programs that convey an effective no-use message from grades
K – 12 for young people and adults in communicating the pharmacology of ATOD, and their effect on individuals and society in general.
E) Create activities during and after school that enhance physical fitness and healthy
2) As a condition for receiving federal aid for welfare, health care or child/family assistance, require all
recipients to subject to random drug testing.
3) As a means of expanding knowledge on the pharmacology of drugs by parents and the general public, have ONDCP and/or the Department of Health and Human services provide materials and information to all major employers in the United States so they in turn can provide the information to their employees; and extend incentives such as tax credits for employees who pass an exam. Smaller employers should be allowed to piggy back on larger employers.
The health of our nation, and the individuals in it, requires a coordinated effort by the Departments of Health and Human Service, Education and ONDCP, but most importantly, leadership from the President of the United States.
The magnitude of the problem suggests that DEMAND REDUCTION for alcohol, tobacco and other drugs is no longer an option, but a necessity, if America is to reduce the cost of health care, enhance education, productivity and retain its competitive position among nations. We pray that you will have the wisdom, courage and conviction to stand in the face of opposition and mandate a policy that will protect our young people, and in turn the future of our nation.
• Roger Morgan, Californians For Drug Free Schools
• Carla D. Lowe, Californians For Drug Free Schools
• Sandra Bennett, Northwest Center for Health & Safety
• Dee Rathbone, National Institute of Citizen Anti-Drug Policy
• Joyce Nalepka, Drug Free Kids, Americas Challenge
• Dr. Eric Voth, Consultant to the White House
• Ron Cuff, Partnership for Responsible Parenting
• Aurora Williams, Partnership for Responsible Parenting
• Dr. Arlene Seal, Founder & President, Positive Moves/CWD International, Inc.
• Dr. Eric Voth, Chairman of the Institute of Global Drug Policy
• Alex Romero, Founder, Arizonans for Drug Free Youth & Communities
• Mina Seinfeld de Carakushanksy, President of BRAHA, Brazilian Humanitarians in Action
• Brenda Chabot – The Inland Valley Drug Free Community Coalition
• Dr. Paul Chabot, Coalition for Drug Free California
• Lori Green, Yucca Valley Anti-Marijuana/drug Activist
• Cap Beyer, Chairman of the National Student Drug Testing Coalition
• Jeanette McDougall – MM, CCDP. Director – National Alliance for Health & Safety
• Katalin Szomor – Hungarian Parliament’s Drug Committee. Drug Czar 1991-1997
• Stephanie Haynes – SOS – Save our Society from Drugs
• Fabio Bernaber – President of Associazione Osservatorio Droga – Rome Italy
• Linda Taylor – Ex Director Repeal Prop 36 Fund. Anti Drug Activist
• Yvonne Gelpi, Former Head Mistress and Principle of De La Salle High School, New Orleans
• Geraldine Silverman – New Jersey Federation for Drug Free Communities
• Wayne Rogues – Retired DEA. Rogues Group
• Theresa Costello, Port Richmond Community Group, Philadephia
• Ruby Schaaf, R.N. The Chemical People of Erie County, Pa.
• Nancy Starr, The Chemcial People of Erie County, Pa.
• Kate Patten, The Kelley McEnery Baker Foundation. “Forever Kelley;s Mom”
• Susie Dugan, Drugwatch, Omaha, Nebraska