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I will address today a very special kind of global menace--a problem so complex that many thoughtful people do not believe it can be resolved, a problem so staggering in its implications for all our nations that we have no choice but to succeed. That problem is narcotics production, trafficking, and abuse. I will address the continuing problems we face and share with you an appraisal of our common future, emphasizing the new opportunities I see for more effective action.
I especially want to comment on the new spirit of improved bilateral and multilateral cooperation that increasingly justifies an optimistic appraisal of our prospects.
It has often been said that there is no greater force than an idea whose time has come. Narcotics control is certainly not a new idea; yet, I submit there is a more intensive worldwide declaration of a need for action being expressed at this time by more nations, with a greater sense of urgency, than during any previous period. Today, drug abuse is rampant throughout the community of nations. It affects producer as well as consumer nations, and it is this mutual concern that has resulted in an expanded opportunity for concentrated action. I believe that the greatest force we can harness to combat international narcotics trafficking is this collective desire to rescue our societies, our institutions and especially our children from this dread phenomenon. Joint actions, especially multilateral actions within geographic regions and spheres of interest, can enhance and make more effective the best of our national and bilateral efforts.
Granted, there will continue to be an expanding need for nationally initiated control programs and bilateral assistance projects. But the evidence is compelling that we need something more than individual initiative. No nation can cope with drug abuse by relying only on its own treatment, prevention, and domestic enforcement. No single nation can resolve the international production or trafficking problems.
The demand for drugs is so widespread and the supply of illicit drugs so great, that only a truly comprehensive, rigorously pursued international strategy will suffice.
Progress in Control Efforts
Because of the severity and complexity of the narcotics problems, some people say that the situation is hopeless. Nothing could be further from the truth. Recent events give reason to be optimistic that the current approaches of the international community are making significant progress in establishing the base for potential control of production and distribution of major illicit substances. I choose these words carefully; we do not have control, but we have improved the possibility that we will gain control.
We have been encouraged in recent years with many signs of progress in Latin America, Southwest and Southeast Asia.
It would be appropriate to begin with Turkey, where a crop control program enforced by a strong government, with support from the international community, led toa complete suppression of illicit cultivation. That ban continues to be effective today because of that same strong dedication. And, when the problem spread to Mexico, there was an equally strong response. The Mexican Government's successful aerial herbicide eradication program has reduced the production of heroin from about 6.5 metric tons in 1975 to an estimated 1.4 metric tons in 1983, and also dramatically reduced marijuana cultivation. The Mexicans call their efforts the "permanent campaign," recognizing that fighting narcotics requires a constant readiness and long-term sustained efforts.
The Mexican …