DRUG CZAR: McCaffrey Will Step Down from White House Post
White House drug czar Barry McCaffrey announced yesterday that he will resign from his post on Jan. 6, ending his five-year reign over the Clinton administration's "controversial" drug policies, the Los Angeles Times reports. The move "surprised" many who believed McCaffrey might continue his position after a new administration takes hold in January. McCaffrey said that he will instead write a book about drugs, teach at the college level, and leave the next administration with a "clean slate to move forward" with its own policies. McCaffrey said his successor should focus on the "expansion of drug treatment in health insurance plans and the escalation of anti-doping measures for young athletes experimenting with steroids and other drugs." He added, "There's still a lot of work to be done. The bottom line is, this is not a war; it's a cancer affecting American communities, and it will be resolved by patiently building coalitions in our communities" to fight drug abuse. McCaffrey cites the 21% decline in adolescent drug use in the last two years, as measured by the government in a household survey, as one of "his proudest achievements."
During his five years as Clinton's drug czar, McCaffrey "angered liberal groups" with his "controversial positions." McCaffrey "blocked federal funding of needle-exchange programs for intravenous drug users, opposed the medicinal use of marijuana and pushed a multimillion-dollar media campaign aimed at sprinkling -- and in some cases editing - - anti-drug messages into television shows," the Los Angeles Times reports. Critics claim that McCaffrey's "bully-pulpit approach to the job has set back the nation's drug policy amid an escalation" of drug abuse. Graham Boyd, director of drug policy litigation for the American Civil Liberties Union, said, "Rather than coerced orthodoxy, we need honest discussions in America" to combat drug abuse. Boyd added, "Nobody thinks our current policies are working" (Lichtblau, Los Angeles Times, 10/17).