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The above mandate of official duties will be promulgated in the Foreign Affairs Manual.
International narcotics control activities and means of improving their effectiveness are under continual review within the Department of State in conjunction with the Congress and other concerned U.S. Government agencies. Assistant Secretary of State Falco has already begun to appear before Congress to present the Department of State's fiscal year 1980 budget request. As these hearings continue, we welcome fully the opportunity to present our overall strategies and policies, as well as the individual programs and activities which support them. We are confident that these hearings will provide a useful exchange between the Department and the Congress, allowing the necessary cooperation to make even more effective our narcotics control programs. I have included with this report a copy of Assistant Secretary Falco's remarks before the Foreign Relations Committee on the fiscal year 1980 international narcotics control authorization.
The international narcotics control program remains of deepest concern to me personally and to the Department as a whole. You may rest assured that we are giving this important work the highest priority within our foreign policy framework.
TESTIMONY OF THE HONORABLE MATHEA FALCO, ASSISTANT SECRE-
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I am pleased to have the opportunity to be here today and to discuss with you the Department of State's international narcotics control budget request for fiscal year 1980.
In keeping with Government-wide fiscal restraints, our fiscal year 1980 request of $37.8 million is lower than the $38.5 million which the Congress appropriated for the current fiscal year. Our requested budget is designed to maintain the momentum of current international narcotics control programs without undertaking major new initiatives. During the past 2 years, the principal thrust of U.S. narcotics control efforts both domestically and abroad has been to control heroin, the most destructive of the illicit drugs entering the United States. In support of this total effort, our primary international narcotics control objective has been to prevent heroin from reaching our borders by curtailing its supply as close as possible to the source of origin. We have made considerable progress towards that goal.
Although exact statistics are impossible to obtain because of the illicit nature of the trade, our best intelligence estimates show a steady, significant decline in the actual amounts of heroin entering the United States over the past 2 years. According to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) figures, street level heroin purity is at its lowest point this decade-averaging only 3.5 percent compared to 6.6 percent in 1976. Reflecting this scarcity, heroin's price has reached an historic high level of $2.19 per milligram, nearly twice the 1976 figure. These two criteria are the traditional means of measuring drug availability and are clear indications of significantly reduced supplies of heroin for American drug abusers.
Decreasing availability of heroin has contributed significantly to a parallel decline in its abuse. According to National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates, the number of heroin addicts in the United States has declined steadily from more than 500,000 in 1976 to approximately 450,000 today. Moreover, due to greatly reduced purity levels, fewer of those abusing heroin are dying or being injured from overdose. U.S. heroin injuries have decreased from 5,200 in the first quarter of 1976 to 2,200 during the last quarter of 1978, a 58 percent reduction. During that same 2-year period, overdose deaths per month have declined 80 percent. In human terms, 1.000 fewer Americans died of heroin overdose in 1977 than in 1976. When final figures are compiled, we expect them to reveal a similar decline in
The Government of Mexico's narcotics control program, which we support, continues to contribute greatly to the marked reduction in heroin availability and abuse in the United States. A comparison of the situation in 1975-76 and 1977-78 will show how striking the prog
ress in Mexico has been. The Drug Enforcement Administration estimates that more than 10.5 metric tons of heroin entered the United States from Mexico during the 2-year period 1975-76. During the comparable 1977-78 2-year period, that figure declined to approximately 6 metric tons. This reduction in heroin entering the United States from Mexico is attributable to the successful destruction of more than 47,000 poppy fields during the 1977 and 1978 narcotic eradication campaigns.
The Mexican effort has been costly in both financial and human resources. Since 1973 the United States has provided $80 million to support Mexico's program through aircraft, communications facilities, and other equipment necessary for opium poppy eradication in thousands of square miles of remote mountainous regions. We have also assisted the Government of Mexico in developing an effective operational and maintenance system which has contributed greatly to successful use of the eradication equipment. Mexico has also paid a price for its success, and has contributed many millions of dollars from its own budget. In 1979, for example, the Mexican Attorney General's office plans to use for narcotics control $30 million of its total $42 million budget. In addition, the Mexican share of the effort. has been expensive in human terms. During recent years 33 Mexican officers have been killed and scores injured in the eradication campaign. For fiscal year 1980 the Department of State is requesting $9.4 million to support the Mexican program, as compared to $11.6 million in fiscal year 1979. This does not reflect a diminution of our joint efforts or a shift in emphasis; rather, it is indicative of successes thus far achieved and of the equipment deliveries already accomplished— especially aircraft.
Of the $9.4 million requested for the Mexican program, approximately $5.35 million is operational and maintenance support of the 65 fixed and rotary wing aircraft already provided to the Attorney General's office. This will include improving aircraft maintenance and training facilities for the 240 pilots and mechanics which the Attorney General's office will have by 1980. Based upon successful trends in the current eradication program, we do not anticipate need for additional aircraft in fiscal year 1980. Another $650,000 will be used for completing and placing into operation the advanced poppy detection system being developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Other projected expenditures for fiscal year 1980 will support expansion of Mexico's computerized narcotics intelligence data system ($260,000); eradication operations, including those of a U.S. civilian contract verification team ($775,000); and salaries and administrative support costs for 11 American and 6 Mexican narcotic control personnel at our Embassy ($800,000).
For fiscal year 1980 $600,000 for a separate herbicide research program is planned. This project will support official United States and Mexican government efforts, as well as private research, to identify alternative herbicides, marking substances, and possible alternative means of eradicating opium and marihuana crops.
We have long sought to insure that increasing success against Mexican heroin was not made meaningless by allowing Golden Triangle
heroin to replace it in the American market. Thus far, assistance to Thai and Burmese narcotics control efforts has been instrumental in preventing a sudden influx of Southeast Asian heroin from the estimated 400 tons of opium produced annually in that region. The amount of heroin entering the United States from Southeast Asia reof mained constant during 1977 and 1978 at approximately 2 metric tons yearly, which represents approximately one-third of the total. As Mexico's narcotics control efforts continue to reduce quantities of heroin available from that country, we expect further increases in the percentage and, possibly, the absolute amount of Southeast Asia heroin entering the United States.
The Department's cooperative narcotics control programs with
We propose to spend $4.6 million for assistance to Burma's inter-
For Thailand we propose a funding level of $2.9 million to support a full range of programs. Of that total, $800.000 will provide advisory support, vehicles, communications, helicopter maintenance, and training to continue implementation of the 5-year narcotics enforcement expansion program. Thai Customs is projected to receive $500,000 in assistance for advisory support, vessel maintenance, and development of a narcotics information system. Two separate demand reduction efforts, covering drug abuse treatment, rehabilitation, and prevention will receive $700.000 in support. Another $500,000 will be used to continue development of alternative crop in the poppy growing Mae Chaem watershed. The remainder of the funds for Thailand will be for personnel and administrative costs in support of our programs. There are increasing indications that smuggling patterns in Southeast Asia are adjusting to enforcement pressures on traditional trafficking routes. To contain potential new routes bypassing Thailand, we initiated narcotic control programs with Malaysia and Indonesia during 1979, for which we have programed $135.000 in fiscal year 1980. Illicit narcotics move freely across international boundaries, making effective control in one nation dependent in part upon the success of neighboring governments. Recognizing that East Asia is no exception, in 1979 we began supporting an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) project for training professional educators in the area of preventive drug education. For 1980 we have set aside $150,000 to continue United States-ASEAN narcotics control cooperation. Another $150,000 is proposed to allow continuation of the Colombo plan drug advisory program and its support of regional narcotics control
Recent developments affecting the trans-Asia movement of heroin. into Europe are, however, placing increasing strain on our efforts in Southeast Asia. One factor contributing to our successes thus far has been the reliance of European heroin addicts on Southeast Asia as their primary source of supply, thereby absorbing significant quantities of those narcotics which might otherwise have been destined for the United States.
Statistics of drug seizures by European law enforcement agencies indicate, however, that Southeast Asian heroin is being increasingly replaced in the European market by Middle Eastern heroin. A comparison of relevant heroin seizure data illustrates this trend. The figures in the percent column indicate percent of total seizures.
Progress against Southeast Asian heroin in Europe has been the result of both positive and negative factors. While effective narcotics control by source countries such as Burma and Thailand has reduced the quantity of heroin available for export, increased vigilance by both Asian and European law enforcement bodies has made the smuggling of Southeast Asian heroin more difficult.
Unfortunately, progress against Southeast Asian heroin has been accompanied by a tremendous increase in the production of illicit opium in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has estimated that the 1978-79 season opium cropfrom these two countries might range as high as 800 metric tons, making that area the world's largest source of illicit opium. Through intelligence and recent laboratory seizures, we know that this opium is being converted increasingly into heroin, both where it is grown as well as to some extent in neighboring countries.
Given the ready availability of narcotic materials, the Middle East is becoming an increasingly important supplier of heroin to Europe. As this trend increases, traffickers of Southeast Asian heroin can be expected to turn their energies increasingly to supplying addicts here in this country. In so doing they will pose a greater challenge to our own narcotics control mechanisms as well as to those of both source and transit countries in East Asia. To contain this threat will require not only more effective international narcotics control efforts in Southeast Asia but also in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other Middle Eastern nations.
Since the United States cannot shoulder the entire burden of the trans-Asian heroin problem we are pursuing a determined effort to enlist increasingly greater support on both a bilateral and multilateral basis from industrialized nations for the global international narcotics control effort.