Remarks at a Seminar on
Substance Abuse in the Workplace in
you, Governor Jim Martin, and thanks, too, for that great music by the Duke
University Pep Band. I understand I'm the backup speaker today. You had a real
star this morning: Secretary of Labor Ann McLaughlin. Governor, Dr. Brodie [president of
this has been a week of champions for me. Last Wednesday the Redskins came to
the White House, and today I am visiting the home of Coach K's
[Michael Krzyzewski] Duke Blue Devils. I met them out
at the airport when we arrived. You've got a champion Governor in Jim Martin
and a champion Senator in Jesse Helms. And
today we're here to talk about drugs in the workplace, as you've been doing. As
I mentioned, earlier today I had the opportunity to hear from some people who
know firsthand about what drugs in the workplace can mean. And I've been very
impressed, as well, with what our panel here has told me. As you know, Nancy
and I have both taken a personal interest in the crusade for a drug free
Well, thank God those days are over. Those days of scenes in a movie where you would get laughs out of someone who was high on marijuana, those scenes where everybody -- the first thing they did was open a bottle before the scene began on the screen -- well, this conference proves that we no longer shrug off illegal drug use. Yes, Americans in all walks of life have seen the truth about drugs. Workers, employers, students, teachers are all saying no to drugs and alcohol.
few weeks ago we learned that
let me add, I can't help being proud of the role someone close to me has played
in teaching our young people to stay away from drugs.
if we're to achieve our goal of a drug free
few years ago, here in
Today David Thompson is pulling his life together. We all pray for his success. And he has this warning: ``You never feel like you're going to be the one to get hooked,'' he says. And he added: ``I knew that it was harmful both for me and for my career, but I couldn't stop.'' And he offers this advice about drugs: ``Never try it. It's easy to get involved with, and it's very hard to get out of.''
Thompson was an extraordinary athlete but an all too typical on-the-job drug
user. Game deteriorating? Studies show that drug users
are two-thirds as productive as nonusers. Lost productivity because of drugs
Injury and accident-prone? Drug users are three or four times as likely to be involved in accidents. For example, a study of airline pilots using flight simulators showed that they had trouble performing standard landing maneuvers as long as 24 hours after smoking a marijuana cigarette. I have heard that the amount of time that marijuana stays in the fat in the body -- unlike alcohol leaving so quickly -- that it can be up to 4 days that the body is still being affected.
Missing work? In one national study, drug users reported skipping work two or three times as often as nonusers.
Difficult to get along with? Ninety-two percent of all Americans say they don't want to work around someone who gets high during the day, perhaps because drug users act the way they tell researchers they feel: They don't want to be at work -- period.
One other thing: As I heard firsthand today, when it's all over and drug users look back on the wreckage of their careers and their lives -- like David Thompson -- their advice is: ``Never, never try it.'' They wish they never had. They wish someone had discovered their habit earlier and given them help.
Well, that's why we're here. Now, I've heard critics say employers have no business looking for drug abuse in the workplace. But when you pin the critics down, too often they seem to be among that handful who still believe that drug abuse is a victimless crime.
When I hear those critics, with their new version of an old, discredited theory, I remember the story about the man who took the train ride. This is my way of getting to tell you a story. [Laughter] The man noticed that the fellow across the aisle was making strange and elaborate gestures and grimaces and then laughing. And finally the man leaned over to ask if anything was wrong. ``No, no,'' the fellow said. ``It's just that when I travel I pass the time telling stories to myself.'' And the man said, ``Well, then why do you make faces and gestures as if you were in pain?'' And the fellow answered, ``Well, every time I start a story, I have to tell myself that I've heard it before.'' [Laughter]
we've heard the story of victimless crime before, and it's a bad one. The drug
user is a victim. His employer is a victim. His fellow employees are victims. The
family that depends on his wages are victims. And
Almost a year-and-a-half ago, we announced a Federal campaign for a drug free workplace. To accomplish this, we proposed to put the Federal Government in the lead, moving toward a drug free workplace for Federal employees. We're encouraging State and local government to follow our example, as well as Federal contractors and all of the private sector. That means you. And I know that the companies represented here have already moved ahead.
proud of the progress we've made, particularly in the military and other areas
where an alert mind can mean the difference between life and death. We got a headstart with the military. And since the drug program
started there, illegal drug use has gone down by two-thirds. But I know we have
a long way to go. The companies here today are leaders, but I know hundreds of
others are making progress, too. We in
crusade for a drug free
know, there's a great deal of emphasis and people talking about -- when I heard
a phrase about throwing money at drugs, the idea that it can all be done if we
have enough people out there on the borders intercepting. Well, we have intercepted, tons and tons. We have fleets of airplanes and
boats and trucks that have been confiscated. And I told some people earlier
today, I saw for the first time in my life what $20 million looked like. It was
piled up on a table down in
Then, to those of you -- and like some who've spoken here today -- who've resolved their problem and cured, they are the greatest exponents. I found that out back, Jim, in my Governor days, when I would try to talk to young people about this when it was first beginning -- the emphasis then was on marijuana. And I found out that I might stand there and talk all day, and I wasn't as effective as one individual who could stand up in front of them and say to them, ``I've been there. I used to do that.'' And he can solve more problems in 10 minutes than, as I say, as I could all day. And those are the people, so many of them, who are so unselfishly now joining the crusade. And God bless them and -- for all of that you're doing to help -- you, to your fellow Americans. I thank you, and God bless you.
Note: The President
spoke at at Cameron Indoor Stadium at