FILE ID:97020503.LAR

(Speaks at conference)  (550)
By Bruce Carey
USIA Staff Writer

RESTON, Virginia -- Heroin is a growing drug menace perhaps more
dangerous than any other to the world community, says Barry McCaffrey,
U.S. director of national drug control policy.

Only international cooperation can succeed in stamping out heroin,
McCaffrey told a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) conference on
the subject here Feb. 4. "We need international cooperation. Heroin
use is not going to be addressed unilaterally by the United States or
Pakistan or by Thailand," he said.

"The problem is not drug production in Burma or money laundering in
Panama. The problem is a gigantic and global criminal enterprise
fueled by nearly $50,000 million per year in U.S. money. It is an
international tragedy," he said.

The United States does not have all the world's heroin addicts, he
added. "Our problem is that we have too much money" being spent on
drugs. "Heroin is more potent and deadlier than ever and we owe it to
our children to tell them the truth.

"If we don't, heroin abuse will be the big epidemic in the United
States and globally in the 21st Century," he said.

"This is not just an issue for law enforcement. Nothing could be
farther from the truth," declared McCaffrey. "If drugs are not
socially disapproved ... than our education, prevention and treatment
programs have no chance of success."

"The romanticism of self-destruction focuses on this ultimate drug,"
he added. "When you use heroin the chances are 75 percent or greater
that you will be addicted. When you use alcohol for a long time the
chances are only about 10 percent. Once addicted to heroin, you and
society have a big problem."

McCaffrey said that intelligence about heroin is poor. "We know more
about nuclear weapons threats than about heroin," he asserted. "Heroin
is not as easy to track as the vertically organized criminal
organizations that deal in cocaine. Heroin is a sophisticated

McCaffrey spoke with reporters later and told them that the extent of
the heroin plague can be understood by changes in Colombia. "Ten years
ago, not a single bit of poppy was grown in Colombia" Now, in addition
to the already-existing danger of cocaine, "Colombia produces many
tons of heroin."

A DEA agent at the conference said "the typical heroin user today uses
more than he did a decade ago, because it is easier to get." Until
recently, he said, heroin was taken by needle but now it can be
swallowed or snorted.

This factor erases the fear of contracting AIDS, the agent said.

The agent gave reporters a dictionary of thousands of code words known
only in the underworld of illicit drugs. "These street terms show how
much drugs have become a part of the daily lives of a large group of
Americans and others, although happily only a minority of individuals
are part of that world," said the agent.

Arrest data from around the country are showing that much of the
increase in illicit drug use in recent years has not involved cocaine
or crack. "Increasingly," said the agent, "it is the worst of all
drugs -- heroin, the old drug that never went away."