Remarks at a White House Briefing for Service Organization Representatives on Drug Abuse
you, Charlie, and thank you all for being here today and for all that you're
doing to help
and commentators have said a great deal about the positive changes that
Well, just the other day in a Cabinet meeting, Secretary [of State] Shultz told me something that we hadn't been aware of: that how often foreign ministers praise her for the work she's doing and the example that she is setting. And all of this came from a idea she had -- and ladies, you can be proud -- she decided to have some meetings of the First Ladies from a number of other countries. And they picked up the baton there and have been doing it ever since.
And I had the exciting experience at one of the recent economic summits with our major allies to mention something of this kind, tell them that she had sent greetings to their wives, and so forth. And all of a sudden, a certain lady Prime Minister spoke up and said, ``Well, what are we doing? Why don't we start in?'' And it suddenly became on the agenda of the economic summit. But because of people like her and these people that I've just mentioned, a new and dynamic consensus is emerging. The good and decent people of this country and, yes, as I say, the world now are coming together in active opposition to the evil of drug abuse. More and more people are realizing how crucial it is to deal with this insidious problem. Those who smuggle and sell drugs are as dangerous to our national security as any terrorist or foreign dictatorship.
1981 we began our efforts to mobilize
The first step, of course, is making certain that individual drug users and everyone else understand that in a free society we're all accountable for our actions. If this problem is to be solved, drug users can no longer excuse themselves by blaming society. As individuals, they're responsible. The rest of us must be clear that, while we are sympathetic, we will no longer tolerate the use of illegal drugs by anyone. The time has come for each and every one of us to make a personal and moral commitment to actively oppose the use of illegal drugs, in all forms and in all places. We must remove all traces of illegal drugs from our nation.
and your organizations, not only in the
Lions Clubs, of which I'm -- happen to be a lifetime member, met with me in
1982. You made your antidrug program a priority and
went to work not just in the
of you and your magnificent organizations in many ways represent the best hope
have a long way to go. But there's ample room for optimism. International
cooperation is increasing. This is no longer looked at as just a problem for
the Americans. And you've already heard from my good friend Charlie Wick on
what's going on in the international arena. Nevertheless, we must continue to
prove we mean business at home. And now is the time to show drug users that we
mean to reach our goal of a drug-free generation in the
I know you have myriad demands on your time. And everyone seems to have a pet project they would like your help on. Well, there's no doubt about our pet project and no doubt as to how seriously we take our commitment. We'll do everything in our power to achieve our goal. And I'd like to call on you to help us out. Go back to your organizations and have your membership work towards drug-free schools. Our children deserve no less. Get your local television stations to air public service announcements -- and I mean at a time when most people are watching TV, not burying them in the middle of the night with reruns of ``Bedtime for Bonzo.'' [Laughter]
By the way, I've been asked at times what it is like to sit and watch the late, late show and see yourself; and I have one answer. It's like looking at a son you never knew you had. [Laughter]
to your local and district prosecutors about getting tough on the lowlifes who
are selling drugs to our kids. Talk to your local religious leaders about what
they can do about drug abuse. This is a moral as well as a health and safety
issue. Meet with the business and labor leaders in your community. You may find
that many are working on getting drugs out of the working place. You have much
in common. And lastly, set up a partnership; get others involved in this fight.
Now may be the time for communities across
You should know that I'll be inviting each of your organizations back to the White House 1 year from now so that I can hear about the progress you've made, the programs you've established, and any results you've achieved in your communities as well as internationally. As I said earlier, please pass on my thanks to all your members who are doing much to make this the kind of country and the kind of world that God intended it to be.
And one last thought: We've been talking about what you'll be doing. Well, I'll announce what I'll be doing. And now is the time for everyone to do their part. The only thing that remains for me to say now is thank you, and God bless you all for what you are doing. Thank you for being here.
Note: The President spoke at in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. He was introduced by Charles Z. Wick, Director of the United States Information Agency.