From remarks made Jan. 31 by Sen. Joseph R. Biden (D-Del.) regarding President Bush's new drug policy:

{The president's program} makes some improvements, but it commits most of the same old mistakes of the last three strategies. It does not put nearly enough emphasis on dealing with the hard-core cocaine addict population, which is rising. It does little or nothing to deal with tens of thousands of addicted prisoners {who} ... after they have served their term, go out and commit these crimes again. It continues to emphasize, in the area of interdiction, military assistance to countries abroad rather than economic aid and debt relief, which is the best way to get at the root of the problem. ... It falls short on education. ...

{W}hen I introduce my drug strategy and the president his, we always emphasize those portions which are different. Eighty-five percent of what we are both proposing is the same thing. The question comes down to where the emphasis should be to have the biggest impact on the problem, and some of the things don't cost any money, like dealing with assault weapons. It doesn't cost any money, it just requires a commitment. ...

There has been progress. The mere fact that the president of the United States has, over the last two years, focused on this problem has generated a sense of moral disapprobation that has impacted upon people consuming drugs, and that's real. ...

My worry is that the administration may believe its rhetoric. It is talking lately about these phenomenal successes. And then with the appointment of the former governor of Florida, a fine man but with no background ... {for} this position of the new drug czar, I'm fearful that those two things signal ... a backing off of this as the number one priority.