Ronald Reagan on Drugs

President of the U.S., 1981-1989; Republican Governor (CA)


Iran-Contra secret aid included $14M in drug money

The Reagan years are remembered for the Iran-Contra scandal that made a notorious celebrity (or future political hero to many) of Col. Oliver North. He claimed that John Kerry's 1988 report on the interplay between US support for the Nicaraguan Contras and the drug trade was all wrong. "The fact is nobody in the US government ever had anything to do with running drugs to support Nicaraguan resistance. I will stand on that to my grave."

Well, North may still be standing but his credibility sure isn't. His diary entries actually had numerous reports of drug smuggling among the Contras, none of which North alerted the DEA or other law enforcement agencies about. One mentions $14 million in drug money being funneled into an operation.

I have to laugh and, in the immortal words of Nancy Reagan, "just say no" to drugs. The hypocrisy of the double standard is ludicrous. All you can do is laugh, or cry. I guess it's okay to deal drugs if it's for the cause of war.

Source: 63 Documents, by Gov. Jesse Ventura, p.100 , Apr 4, 2011

OpEd: supporting Contras supported drug-trade profits

The 1979 Sandinista revolution that overthrew Anastasio Somoza, one of our favorite Latin Dictators, was not looked upon fondly by Ronnie and his friends. He called the counterrevolutionary Contras "freedom fighters," and compared them to America's founding fathers. In his attempt to get Congress to approve aid for the Contras, Reagan accused the Sandinista government of drug trafficking. After his administration tried to mine the Nicaraguan harbors and got a hand-slap from Congress, it turned to secretly selling missiles to Iran and using the payments--along with profits from running drugs--to keep right on funding the Contras. 50,000 lost lives later, the World Court would order the U.S. to "cease and to refrain" from unlawful use of force against Nicaragua and pay reparations. (We refused to comply.)

The fact is, with most of the cocaine that flooded the country in the Eighties, almost every major drug network was using the Contras operations in some fashion.

Source: American Conspiracies, by Jesse Ventura, p.115 , Mar 8, 2010

Fought drugs beyond “Just Say No”

Reagan was serious about reducing the scourge of drugs, and the efforts of his administration went well beyond Nancy Reagan’s “just say no” campaign. The Justice Department involved the FBI in the fight against drugs, added five hundred Drug Enforcement Administration agents, established thirteen regional anti-drug task forces and chalked up record numbers of drug seizures and convictions. But the magnitude of the drug problem was at least as great when Reagan left office as when he entered it.
Source: The Role of a Lifetime, by Lou Cannon, p. 813 , Jul 2, 1991

Drug use falling: our students are just saying no to drugs

Recently, we released our annual survey of what graduating high school seniors have to say about drugs. Cocaine use is declining, and marijuana use was the lowest since surveying began. We can be proud that our students are just saying no to drugs. But let us remember what this menace requires: commitment from every part of America and every single American, a commitment to a drug-free America. The war against drugs is a war of individual battles, a crusade with many heroes, including America's young people and also someone very special to me. She has helped so many of our young people to say no to drugs. Nancy, much credit belongs to you, and I want to express to you your husband's pride and your country's thanks.
Source: Pres. Reagan's 1988 State of the Union message to Congress , Jan 25, 1988

Defeat the scourge of drugs, starting with our children

Preparing for the future must begin, as always, with our children. We need to set for them new and more rigorous goals. We must demand more of ourselves and our children by raising literacy levels dramatically by the year 2000. Our children should master the basic concepts of math and science, and let's insist that students not leave high school until they have studied and understood the basic documents of our national heritage. There's one more thing we can't let up on: Let's redouble our personal efforts to provide for every child a safe and drug-free learning environment. If our crusade against drugs succeeds with our children, we will defeat that scourge all over the country.
Source: Pres. Reagan's 1987 State of the Union message to Congress , Jan 27, 1987

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Other past presidents on Drugs: Ronald Reagan on other issues:
Former Presidents:
Barack Obama(D,2009-2017)
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton(D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan(R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter(D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford(R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon(R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson(D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower(R,1953-1961)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

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Page last updated: Feb 22, 2022