President Clinton ordered the distribution of more than $8.7 million in new drug-fighting grants Saturday and told the nation he would "stay focused on your business."
Clinton, in his weekly radio address, made no mention of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's report to Congress but acknowledged he had "an exhausting and difficult week."The "high impact, low red tape" drug-fighting grants are being awarded to 93 community-based organizations nationwide. The bulk of the money will go to urban areas and rural communities.
The grants go to programs that focus on uniting parents, teachers, religious leaders and law enforcement agencies to help "give kids an option after school from 3 to 7 p.m. and on weekends," Clinton's drug czar, retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, said.
While overall drug use has dropped by half since 1979, Clinton said drug-abuse trends among young people suggest half of this year's high school seniors will have smoked marijuana by the time they graduate.
"When we know that drugs lead to crime, to failure in school, to fraying of families and neighborhoods, we know we must do better," the president said in his weekly radio broadcast. "We can reverse this terrible trend if we attack it in the way we did the crime problem, by working together at the community level, neighborhood by neighborhood, block by block, person by person."
The president also implored Congress to take action on other issues, including education, health care and campaign finance reform.
"We cannot lose sight of our primary mission, which is to work for the American people," he said. "We must stay focused on your business."