In a special message to Congress on the 14th of July 1969, President Nixon expressed his concerns regarding the nation’s ever rising number of drug addicts and crime rate. Throughout the 1960s, the abuse of drugs had grown from a local police problem to a threat to the personal health and safety of millions of Americans. The number of narcotics addicts across the United States was estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands, with several million more American college students having at least experimented with marijuana, hashish, LSD, amphetamines, or barbiturates.
RN empathized with American parents, admitting that it was nearly impossible for them to send a son or daughter to college without exposing the child to drug abuse. These narcotics addicts then become not only a danger to themselves, but also a threat to the community where they live. As the addict’s tolerance for drugs increases, so does his demand. Consequently, the escalating costs of maintaining his habit force him to reduce himself to any offense, whether prostitution, robberies, or even murder, to acquire the drugs. RN hoped that Federal, State, and local agencies could work collectively to fight the nation’s drug problem. He then proposed a ten-step plan to crack down on narcotics.
RN’s plan included comprehensive legislation to control these drugs, complemented by a State Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Act, which together, would more effectively control the problem. The United States would then work with foreign governments to stop the production of the contraband at its source and to tighten the US borders to prevent or decrease the illegal smuggling of drugs into the country.
The Nixon administration also planned in education the American public, namely the youth, on the hazards of abusing these drugs, which until recently were sparsely used in the United States. RN stated, “The possible danger to the health or well-being of even a casual user of drugs is too serious to allow ignorance to prevail or for this information gap to remain open.”