U.S. Department of State
Statement by Richard Boucher, Spokesman
INL A/S Rand Beers to Visit San Diego and Tijuana Schools
On November 15, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Rand Beers will visit junior high-schools in San Diego and Tijuana which are participating in a school-based education program to improve students' knowledge of and attitudes toward trans-border crime and corruption. The project is one of a broad array of anti-drug and anti-crime programs supported by the Department of State, in this case, with public support for the program and a specific book donation in Tijuana.
Drug-related violence along the Southwest Border has increased significantly in recent years. This violence is generally attributed to a struggle between several transnational drug cartels for control over the lucrative California drug corridor. Law enforcement officials on both sides of the border have reported a disturbing rise in drug traffickers recruiting border youth as smugglers and even as gunmen. The flow of drugs through the region has also fueled an increase in drug consumption. Drug use has long been a concern in Southern California and Mexican health officials report that drug use in Tijuana is now more than three times the national average.
To combat these alarming trends, education officials in San Diego and Baja California, with support from the Georgetown University's National Strategy Information Center, have created a pilot program to increase resistance to crime among junior high-school students. In just two years, there have been measurable changes in student attitudes in the pilot schools. Anecdotal evidence also suggests students are working to "take their schools back." By equipping our young people with the information and skills to resist involvement in drug trafficking or drug abuse, we are taking an important step toward forming societies better able to confront crime and corruption.
The visits are OPEN TO PRESS COVERAGE. In Tijuana, Mr. Beers will present 15,000 copies of the book, "Lord of the Flies, " a central component of the program's curriculum.
For the school event in San Diego, contact Jan Godfrey, Director of Communications for Sweetwater Union High School District at (619)691-5578.
For the school event in Tijuana, contact Jesus Obregon Martinez, Chief of Public Relations in Tijuana for the Baja California Secretariat of Education at (52)(66)83-51-12.
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