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US Anti-Drug Policies Exceeding Expectations, Says Bush - 2004-02-28

President Bush used his weekly radio address to focus on a social issue - illegal drug use. Democrats kept up their attack on what they say is the president's mishandling of the economy.

President Bush says he wants to spend more money to randomly test U.S. high school students for illegal drugs.

"Random drug testing gives students a strong answer to the social pressure to try drugs. It helps schools identify those using drugs, so they can intervene, with counseling and treatment, before experiments turn into addictions," the president said.

The president says he is taking action against illegal drug use because it costs people their savings and their health, and robs children of their promise.

"We are taking steps to help those who have fallen into the destructive cycle of addiction. Drug dependence undermines productivity, as well as moral conviction, and devastates millions of families each year," he said.

The president spoke ahead of Monday's release of the annual National Drug Control Strategy, which will show the Bush administration is ahead of its 2002 goal to cut illegal drug use 25 percent by 2007.

The president says U.S. military and law enforcement officials also are preventing drugs from entering the country by targeting the world's most dangerous drug trafficking networks.

"We are dismantling these organizations and putting their leaders in jail. And by working with governments across our hemisphere, we are drying up the world's supply of illegal drugs at its source," he said.

In the Democratic radio address, Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan kept up Democratic attacks on the president's handling of the U.S. economy.

He criticized the chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, who said "outsourcing" American jobs overseas was good for the U.S. economy in the long run.

"The constituents in my district, whose jobs were just outsourced, do not agree. They and the more than one million other workers nationwide who lost their jobs to overseas labor during the past three years find this statement outrageous," he said.

The president's economic advisor has apologized for those remarks, and said he was misunderstood.

Ohio will be a key swing state in this year's presidential election, especially on the issue of lost manufacturing jobs. More than two-million people have lost their jobs nationwide since President Bush took office.

President Bush says his record tax cuts are helping improve the U.S. economy, and says Democrats would raise taxes and slow that growth.