State, federal officials promise to reduce drug abuse by 20% over the next eight years

April 03, 1999|By Greg Garland | Greg Garland,SUN STAFF

State and federal officials involved in drug control efforts promised yesterday to work to cut drug abuse among youths and adult criminal offenders in Maryland by 20 percent over the next eight years.

The promise was the centerpiece of a first-in-the-nation partnership agreement signed by Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The agreement -- which includes no specific promises of additional federal money -- will allow state and federal officials to work together more closely, Townsend said, and will reduce red tape that can hinder drug-fighting efforts.

"Together, we will focus our efforts on the populations most likely to use drugs, the neighborhoods most afflicted by drugs and violence and the specific drugs most harmful to Marylanders," Townsend said.

Townsend said the state plans to build on strategies it already has in place and will also work to develop more effective methods for dealing with the problem.

"Initiatives that work will be fine-tuned and expanded," she said. "The initiatives that don't work will be modified, or eliminated and replaced by ones that do."

McCaffrey praised Maryland officials for devising what he said was a well-designed strategy for fighting drug abuse. "At the end of the day, the problems will be solved by the cities and counties of Maryland, not by the federal government," he said.

State officials said they expect the partnership to bring more resources and expertise into Maryland to start new anti-drug programs and track their success.

Pub Date: 4/03/99

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