|Historic Meeting on America's|
Drug Crisis Held
Mayors today held an historic meeting on the drug crisis in cities and rural communities. In a report commissioned by the conference and prepared by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), found that in many cases rural and mid-sized cities drug abuse for youth is significantly higher than in larger communities. The report, entitled No Place to Hide, also focused on the growing problem of methamphetamine which is devastating communities in the west and midwest and is now heading to the east coast.
USCM Vice President
H. Brent Coles
Participants in the meeting include USCM President Wellington E. Webb, USCM Vice President H. Brent Coles, Attorney General Janet Reno, Acting Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator Donnie E. Marshall, CASA Chairman and President Joseph A. Califano, Jr., White House Drug Czar Barry R. McCaffrey, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Administrator Nelba Chavez, Ph.D and Senator John Ashcroft (R-MO).
White House Drug Czar
Barry R. McCaffrey
As stated by Mayor Coles, who presided over the meeting, "Our message is simple - drugs is every community's problem regardless of size, location or demographic make up." Coles added that the nation must unite on a national agenda which supports education and prevention, stronger law enforcement and a major increase in treatment.
CASA Chairman and President Joseph A. Califano, Jr.
At the same meeting Missouri Senator John Ashcroft announced the introduction of legislation called for by the conference that would ensure that every federal prisoner pass a drug test prior to release into the cities. The intent of the legislation is to improve public safety, ensure that treatment is provided to prisoners and to step up efforts to keep drugs out of prison. The meeting concluded with a luncheon address by the President of Colombia.
|President Pastrana Returns to Address America's Mayors|
Colombia President Andrés Pastrana Arango addressed the mayors today, lobbying for a Clinton Administration initiative of a 2 year old, $1.6 billion aid plan for his country, telling U.S. mayors that his country was committed to reducing the source of drugs entering the U.S. and in ending the long standing insurgency in his country.
Colombia President Andrés Pastrana Arango
President Pastrana, a former mayor of Bogota, is no stranger to mayors of the U.S., as he is the first president of a foreign country for years that addressed a general session of U.S. mayors. Appearing with him was White House drug czar Barry R. McCaffrey who had earlier pointed out that he was strongly endorsing the Colombia plan put forth by President Pastrana. The president first spoke to the USCM in 1989 at its Annual Meeting in Charleston, S.C. when he was the Bogota mayor. He also appeared at a New York international drug meeting that same year with then New York City mayor Ed Koch and then Vice President Dan Quayle. In his speech President Pastrana detailed his country's ambitious plan to curtail his country's cocaine and heroin production. President Pastrana has been in town to meet with key congressional leaders and his initiative has received some endorsements from Senate republicans and House leadership.
President Pastrana also fielded questions from mayors about his country's problems and about drug related production. Mayors who asked questions included Madison Mayor Susan Bauman, Evansville Mayor Russell Lloyd and Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup.
Wellington E. Webb