Drug Abuse Prevention Week, 1971
By the President of the United States of America
"What shall it profit a man," the Bible asks, "if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" It is a question which the menace of drug abuse poses anew to all of us.
What can a nation profit from its abundant good life, if the same technology and material wealth which have yielded that abundance permits millions of its people, particularly its youth, to drift into the chemical modification of mind and mood at grave risk to their health—to their very lives? What can a nation profit from its unparalleled individual freedom, if that liberty becomes license and that license leads to drug dependence which controls the bodies and warps the minds of men, women, children, and even the unborn?
Not so long ago it was easy enough to regard the tragedy of drug abuse as "someone else's problem." But recent years have brought that tragedy home—often very literally—to all Americans. We have learned that "drug abuse" refers not only to the crime-prone heroin addict— though that is the disease at its deadliest, with over 1,000 heroin fatalities annually in New York City. The term also refers to the suburban housewife dependent on tranquilizers or diet pills; to the truck driver over-reliant on pep pills; to the student leaning on amphetamines to help him cram for exams; even to pre-teens sniffing glue.
It has become a problem that touches each of us. Its manifestations are many and varied, but all grow from a common root—psychological and physical needs unmet through legitimate social channels—and all feed on a common ignorance—ignorance of the profound harm the abuser does to himself and society. Drug abuse is nothing less than a life and death matter for countless Americans, and for the moral fiber of this Nation. The drive to meet this threat must command from us our very best—our attention, our energies, our resources and our prayers.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RICHARD NIXON, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate the week beginning October 3, 1971, as the second annual Drug Abuse Prevention Week.
I call upon officials of the Federal Government under the leadership of the new Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention, particularly those officials in the Departments of Health, Education and Welfare, Justice, and Defense, to join with educators and the medical profession in intensifying programs to prevent and reduce drug abuse among the young and among all Americans. I urge State and local governments, as well as business and civic groups, to cooperate in such programs and to seek out new methods by which the risks and dangers of drug experimentation can be communicated to the entire Nation. The communications media can render invaluable assistance in this endeavor, and I urge them to do so.
I also encourage the clergy, and all of our moral and spiritual leaders, to make a special effort during this week to take up the problem of drug abuse and to offer those answers of the spirit which alone can fill the void where drug abuse begins.
And I appeal, above all, to those who bear the special trusts of parenthood—that all of us may rededicate ourselves to the well-being of America's youth; and that we may so teach them, so guide them, so reach out to them in understanding and compassion, as to help them avoid the problems that arise from abuse of drugs and to attain the full promise of their maturity.
IN WITNESS THEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventeenth day of September, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred seventy-one and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred ninety-sixth.