Drug addiction in the District of Columbia is at an all-time high, and the city has the second-highest rate of alcoholism in the country, city officials said yesterday.
The figures were released as Mayor Marion Barry launched this year's alcohol and drug abuse campaign, which he promised would be more comprehensive than in the past despite less money being available for programs.
The city has declared war on drugs several times before, but statistic after statistic brought out at yesterday's kickoff ceremony showed the problem to be on the rise:
* About 15,000 District residents are drug addicts, a record high for the city, according to Dr. Alyce Gullattee, D.C. alcohol and drug services administrator. Drug abuse had declined from the previous peak in 1972 until 1979, but then started to increase again, she said.
* The city has 50,000 to 60,000 alcoholics, officials said, and the second-highest alcoholism rate in the country. The figures mean that nearly one in 10 of the District's approximately 630,000 residents is an alcoholic.
* Alcohol is the most widely used drug among youth, and about 7,000 15- to-19-year-olds have alcohol-related problems.
* One-third of all the offenders that come before the D.C. Superior Court are charged with drug offenses, according to Judge Fred B. Ugast.
* More than one-half of all the calls the police department receives are drug-related complaints, said Police Chief Maurice T. Turner.
"I know you have heard it before that we are going to curb substance abuse," Barry said at the District Building ceremony, which was attended by city officials and representatives of community groups. But this campaign will be the more effective because it brings in all elements of the community, he said.
Barry said he is "not prepared to say" if he would put more money into drug-abuse programs.
Two television and two radio spots were being distributed to local stations yesterday as public-service announcements in a five-month mass media campaign, using the slogan: "Saying 'yes' to drugs and alcohol is easy. Are you tough enough to say 'no'?"
Other parts of the city's campaign include a study on a youth detoxification facility, a training program for clergymen and a conference on the black family to be held June 18 at Howard University.
These activities are being coordinated by A.L. Nellum and Associates, a management consulting firm, under a $199,000 contract with the city.
"There is a need for detoxification of young people," and the city now has no facility geared specifically to youths, Gullattee said after the ceremony.
The facility envisioned would detoxify young people over one or two weeks and then would put them into drug rehabilitation programs, she said.
The D.C. school system separately plans to designate five-person substance-abuse teams in each school to prevent drug activities and to refer problem cases.
The teams will consist of administrators, counselors and teachers. Students in the summer youth jobs program are to be trained to take drug abuse prevention messages back to the schools in the fall.
Turner did bring some positive news to the ceremony yesterday, saying that this year's 11 deaths due to drug overdoses represent a "tremendous reduction" from a year ago at this time.
The police department has made 5,500 arrests for drug transactions since a drug task force was started in September 1981, Turner said.
So far the arrests have involved distributing within the city, but police plan shortly to make 10 to 12 arrests of people who are bringing the drugs into the District, he said.