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:

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Issue #311, 11/14/03 DRCNet Interview: Larry Campbell, Mayor of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | South Carolina: High School Drug Raid Sparks Incredulity, Outrage | DRCNet Honchos Challenge DC with CD -- Borden and Guard Refuse to Report for Jury Service in Protest of Drug Laws | Drug Policy Alliance 2003 Conference | BUSTED: Special Video Offer for DRCNet Members | Newsbrief: Canada Decriminalization Bill Dies Quiet Death | Newsbrief: Bolivian Intellectuals Issue Call for Debate on Coca Law | Newsbrief: FAMM Study Show States Embracing "Smart on Crime" Reforms | Newsbrief: Illinois Targets Ecstasy, Speed on Campus | Newsbrief: Texas Drug Task Force Prosecutor Plays "Let's Make a Deal" With Wealthy Defendants | This Week in History | DRCNet Temporarily Suspending Our Web-Based Write-to-Congress Service Due to Funding Shortfalls -- Your Help Can Bring It Back -- Keep Contacting Congress in the Meantime | Perry Fund Accepting Applications for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 School Years, Providing Scholarships for Students Losing Aid Because of Drug Convictions | The Reformer's Calendar

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