If you look anywhere this summer, you'll see the man. There he is denouncing the New York Yankees for having "struck out" by signing Darryl Strawberry, who had been suspended for drug use. Then he's taking on "look-alike" products -- gum, candy and soda -- that resemble tobacco or alcohol products. There he is praising Colombia for arresting "the world's most wanted criminal."
He is Lee P. Brown, 57, the White House director of drug control policy, also known as the "drug czar." And after two low-key years in office, he is mounting an attention-grabbing campaign.
Mr. Brown's oversees 50 federal agencies and departments involved in the multibillion-dollar fight against illegal drugs. Mr. Brown's credentials include a doctorate in criminology, a stint as police commissioner in New York City and a lifetime spent in law enforcement.
'To be a cheerleader'
So where has he been for the past two years?
Some critics wonder if he's been a captain without a ship.
"His first responsibility is to lead the movement, to be a cheerleader who can keep the issue alive, and I don't feel he's accomplished this," said Michael Gimbel, chief of anti-drug services in Baltimore County.
"Our national drug strategy doesn't put the fear of God in people like it used to. As a result, the problem has gotten worse."
Jim Perone, executive director of the Community Counseling and Resource Center in Baltimore County, had different expectations. He recognizes Mr. Brown as "maybe a little more realistic" than his two tough-talking predecessors, William J. Bennett and Bob Martinez, in targeting the demand for drugs as well as enforcement.
But Mr. Perone says the White House has not sustained any strategy to curb drug use.
"The administration got off on the right foot with its emphasis on treatment and prevention," he said, "but I haven't seen that continued focus. It feels like they stalled."
Mr. Brown stoutly defends his performance.
The trouble, he said, is not a lack of leadership from his office but rather that America hasn't pooled all of its resources -- public and private -- to attack a corrosive drug epidemic.
"The drug issue has not been on the radar screen of the American media," he said in a recent interview. "In addition, pro-bono public service announcements have been cut back.
"Meanwhile, there has been a reglamorization of drug use in some aspects of the entertainment industry -- in music and in movies to some extent. We can make a difference when we use everything that's at our disposal: anti-drug coalitions, family, religious institutions and media and entertainment industries."
Since he came into office, Mr. Brown acknowledged, there's been little dent made in the 2.7 million hard-core drug addicts who use three-fourths of the street drugs and commit most of the violent crimes.
According to recent studies by the University of Michigan and Columbia University, teen-agers' attitudes about drugs have relaxed, and their drug use has risen.
Thomas A. Constantine, the administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, concedes there is reason for pessimism.
"I don't see an improvement presently in any of the indicators: usage among young people, production of both cocoa and opium poppy, hospital room emergencies, and the tremendous amount of violence associated with either drug abuse or drug trafficking, especially in the teen-age brackets," he told the San Diego Union-Tribune in May.
Mr. Constantine, like Mr. Brown, complains that the so-called war on drugs has lacked the unity and fervor needed for real change.
"To really have a war on drugs brings to mind World War II, when every available resource we had was dedicated to winning that war. That has not happened yet."
Tried to cut office
Still, some critics point a finger at the administration. Last month, some members of Congress tried to cut Mr. Brown's entire office and its $9.9 million budget -- a move that never made it out of committee.
Sen. Richard C. Shelby, the Alabama Republican leading the failed effort, later issued a statement clarifying his position:
"I have never been against the office itself, but rather against the direction that the office was heading under the Clinton administration. Hopefully, our actions will serve as a wake-up call to the administration, as well as to the drug czar."
Mr. Brown said the effort was "wrongheaded and a complete abdication of Congress' oath to keep the American people safe."
"To me, it's very hypocritical that a Congress that would criticize the administration for not doing more on the drug issue would address the problem itself by not funding the office that has the responsibility for working with all the agencies at the federal, state and local level," Mr. Brown said in a statement.
Even as many in Congress were faulting the White House drug control policy, he complained, lawmakers were slashing the budgets of anti-drug initiatives.