Newsbrief: Illinois Targets Ecstasy, Speed on Campus 11/14/03

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Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced Monday an aggressive new plan to crack down on so-called club drugs and methamphetamine around college campuses in the state. "Project X," as Blagojevich and company cutely named the campaign, will burn up $2.5 million next year in an effort to suppress ecstasy and meth use. Part of Project X is "Club U," under which the Illinois State Police will be "targeting a student population of more than 200,000 young adults at the state's nine major colleges and universities."

"Project X is the state's most aggressive law enforcement crackdown against illegal trafficking of ecstasy and meth in the state's history," said Blagojevich. "We must attack swiftly and aggressively to curtail the growing, dangerous trend these drugs have on your youth." The Democratic governor also resorted to Reefer Madness-style rhetoric, approvingly quoting the DEA's portrayal of ecstasy as "the crack cocaine of the Y generation" and as a drug "fast becoming the number one problem facing America's youth today."

While Blagojevich touted the program as a balanced strategy of prevention, treatment, and law enforcement, the numbers tell a different story. Of the $2.5 million in funding -- most of which will come from asset forfeitures -- some $200,000 will buy ads produced by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and $500,000 will go to treatment programs. But $1.8 million will go to law enforcement, primarily to pay overtime for more undercover operations directed at the state's college students.

Project X is ramping up right now. Read the governor's press release at:
http://www100.state.il.us/PressReleases/ShowPressRelease.cfm?SubjectID=3&RecNum=2362

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