Barry McCaffrey, a retired four-star general, was director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President Clinton from 1996 to 2001.
He was in that role when methamphetamine use began to spread rapidly in the United States.
He knows the extent of the problem and the ways the government and law enforcement are combating it.
On a recent visit to Columbus, Georgia, McCaffrey sat down with the Ledger-Enquirer to discuss meth, its use and its growth as a recreational drug.
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The following are excepts from that interview:
How bad is the drug problem in the United States?
We need to remind ourselves that there are 5 million of us who have chronic drug abuse problems. You can make that 15 million if you throw in alcohol. There are 307 million of us. So, most of us don’t have a problem.
How do you assess the extent of the problem?
You can go to any municipal court judge, hospital emergency room doctor or nurse and social worker. If you poll all of them, they can damn near give you the name of every chronic substance abuser in your community. They are certainly aware of all of the acute cases.
Where does meth fall in the drug problem?
Read the complete story at ledger-enquirer.com