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Congressional Black Caucus Members Call for "Drug Czar" McCaffrey's Resignation


May-June 1998

U.S. Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton called for the resignation of the Director of Office of National Drug Control Policy, Barry McCaffrey, in a speech to the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) on April 24. Holmes, a CBC member, was supported by fellow members Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Corinne Brown (D-FL), Rep. Louis Stokes (D-OH), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Caucus Chair, and Rep. Donna Christian-Green (D-VI) (Terry M. Neal, "Drug Policy Chief Is Facing Some New Foes," Washington Post, May 18, 1998; Elizabeth Daerr, "Clinton Drug Czar May Irk Allies but Gets Things Done," Wall Street Journal, May 12, 1998, p. A24).

Congresswoman Norton noted that AIDS is the leading killer of African-American men and women ages 25-44 and in more than half of those deaths the virus was transmitted at one point by sharing needles to inject drugs. She accused McCaffrey of ignoring scientific proof that needle exchange programs prevent the spread of AIDS. The ONDCP Chief forced President Clinton's April 20 decision to continue the ban on federal funding of needle exchange programs circumventing the recommendation of HHS Secretary Donna Shalala and AIDS "Czar" Sandra Thurman (see "Ban on Federal Funding of Needle Exchange Will Not Be Lifted, Says Clinton Administration," NewsBriefs, March-April 1998).

Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Chair, Congressional Black Caucus, 2344 RHOB, Washington, DC 20515, Tel: (202) 225-2201.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, 1424 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC, 20515, Tel: (202) 225-8050, Fax: (202) 225-3002.