By the President of the United States of America
History teaches us that almost every discovery or invention designed to make our lives a little better can, in the wrong hands, become an instrument of tragedy and suffering. Nothing better illustrates this than the problem of drug abuse in America. When used properly, today's drugs can work miracles that were unimaginable only a short time ago. When they fall into the hands of the immature, the careless, the ignorant, or the despairing, their effects can be devastating.
If we are to rid our society of the problem of drug abuse, we must first rid ourselves of the idea that it is confined to a single group. Drug abusers include the busy executive who cannot function without the aid of heavy drinking, the youth who is addicted to heroin, and the victim of disease who grows dependent upon prescribed medication.
Once we understand that the problem does not derive from a single source, we can appreciate the futility of attempting to seek a single solution. Controlling the availability of drugs and seeking better methods of treating the drug abuser are vital, hut unless we also identify and reduce the social pressures which encourage drug abuse, our other efforts will achieve little.
Recognizing this we are focusing our efforts on the search for ways to stop drug abuse before it starts. In particular, we are directing our attention to ways of helping young people understand themselves and their surroundings without the artificial support of dangerous drugs. How successful we will be remains to be seen. But each of us needs the courage to face these hard truths, the insight to recognize that this problem affects us all, and the determination to do something about it.
Now, THEREFORE, I, JIMMY CARTER, President of the United States of America, in order to inaugurate the 1978 National Drug Abuse Prevention Campaign, do hereby proclaim the week beginning January 15, 1978, as National Drug Abuse Prevention Week.
I call upon government officials, educators, medical professionals, clergy, business and civic leaders to join together in working to create an America where people are no longer tempted to abuse drugs. I call upon parents to examine the ways they respect or abuse drugs in their homes and to remember that their attitudes are likely to shape the attitudes of their children. Most of all, I ask each American to take the time and trouble to learn about drug abuse prevention, to kindle positive values within our families and communities, and to create opportunities for people of all ages and all backgrounds to come together to share their ideas, skills, and resources.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eleventh day of January, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred seventy-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and second.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:08 a.m., January 12, 1978]