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For immediate release
October 5, 2000
Tracey Terry, NPR
202-414-2300
tterry@npr.org
Chris Kelly, Frontline
617-300-5374

NPR News and PBS Frontline Special Report:
Collaboration Provides Fresh Perspective on the National War on Drugs
October 9-13, 2000

Washington, DC-During the week of October 9, 2000, National Public Radio® (NPR®) and PBS Frontline will collaborate to offer two separate reports on the national war on drugs. NPR will provide a fresh perspective on U.S. drug war policy with a special five-part series, War On Drugs, airing on All Things Considered® from NPR News. Correspondent Deborah Amos examines issues relating to the drug wars and adds new insight to the international debate. The PBS Frontline series Drug Wars will air on PBS, Monday, October 9, and Tuesday, October 10, both at 9 P.M. (check local listings).

In the first segment of the NPR News series airing on October 9, Amos provides an overview: During the thirty-year war on drugs, Americans have paid a heavy price, not only financially - the drug enforcement budget is now 40 billion dollars - but also with their civil liberties - laws that turn "innocent until proven guilty" on its head. This series from NPR News aims to explore why, after thirty years of effort and billions in expenditures, America's war on drugs has no victory in sight.

The United States' efforts to stop drug trafficking have long been dependent on work it conducts overseas. This includes interdiction of drugs in international waters; extradition of drug kingpins from their home countries; eradication of drug crops on foreign soil; and training and assisting foreign police and military forces in stopping drug production and distribution. On October 10, Amos continues her exploration as she focuses on Mexico and how commercial trade is more important than drug interdiction.

The ability of the United States government to stop illegal drugs is daunted by the size and power of the international narcotics business. On October 11, Amos examines drug money and the sophisticated methods drug traffickers use to launder profits and hide their profits from law enforcement officials.

On October 12, Amos explores the issue of corrupting influence of the war on drugs by those who fight it - the paid informants and the police who have found profit in it.

The debate surrounding the war on drugs has mainly been between those who primarily advocate treating the drug problem as a public health issue and those who more fundamentally advocate strong law enforcement solutions. In the fifth and final segment on October 13, Amos will examine how the failure of enforcement policies to end drug demand and availability is leading to a re-evaluation of the benefits of treatment over incarceration.

In addition to her work with NPR, Deborah Amos is a correspondent for ABC News.

The NPR News special series War on Drugs will air Monday, October 9, though Friday, October 13 on All Things Considered. For nationwide station information and broadcast times please visit NPR's Web Site at www.npr.org. The PBS Frontline special Drug Wars will air on PBS stations Monday, October 9, and Tuesday, October 10, both at 9 P.M.

As PBS's premier public affairs series, Frontline is the recognized leader in producing compelling programs that explore the stories and issues of our times. Now beginning its 19th season, Frontline has established a solid record for accuracy, objectivity and integrity unmatched by any television news program. That reputation for sound editorial judgment and intelligent journalism has earned the series critical acclaim and countless broadcast journalism honors.

Renowned for its journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information and cultural programming, NPR serves a growing audience of nearly 15 million Americans each week via more than 644 public radio stations. NPR also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR Worldwidesm, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network, and throughout Japan via cable.