The White House

Office of the National Drug Control Policy

U.S. Drug Control Director Sees Collaborative International Effort To Address Worldwide Threat of Drug Production, Trafficking, and Use

WASHINGTON, DC – National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske said today that “a window of opportunity” exists for strengthened, collaborative, international efforts to address the worldwide threat of drug production, trafficking, and use.

Testifying before the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Kerlikowske called the international drug trade “a significant threat to our Nation, our hemisphere, and our planet.”

Kerlikowske said the “past two decades have witnessed a strengthening worldwide resolve” to address the problem, which he said requires strong domestic drug control, treatment ,and prevention programs within the United States, and international collaboration to disrupt the cross-border flow of illicit drugs.

“We must also do the same with our non-law enforcement efforts, such as capacity building of democratic institutions, improving justice systems, strengthening community capacity to resist and prevent substance abuse, and providing opportunities to at-risk youth so they do not become involved in either drug abuse or the drug trade,” Kerlikowske said.

Kerlikowske cited progress in several international efforts, including interdiction of drug trafficking between South America and the United States and disruption of drug trafficking organizations in Colombia.

The United States will continue to strengthen its partnerships and efforts in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, Russia, Afghanistan, West Africa, and the Asian Pacific region to combat regional and international drug issues.

“As a major drug-consuming nation, it is in our best interest to work collaboratively with our international partners to reduce the global drug trade,” Kerlikowske said. “Such efforts not only protect the public health and safety of our citizens, they also fulfill our responsibilities to assist those nations which have been severely impacted by drug use outside their borders.”

Also testifying at the hearing were David T. Johnson, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, Department of State; Anthony P. Placido, Assistant Administrator and Chief of Intelligence, Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Justice; Adam J. Szubin, Director, Office of Foreign Assets Control, Department of Treasury; and William F. Wechsler, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics and Global Threats, Department of Defense.

Director Kerlikowske’s prepared testimony is available online at www.WhiteHouseDrugPolicy.gov.