Ross Perot on Drugs

1992 & 1996 Reform Party Nominee for President


Marijuana is the 1st step; tough penalties needed

Consider his anti-drug stance. Perot was in Turkey, waiting for his rescue team to come out of Iran, when Governor Bill Clements appointed him to head a citizens' committee to wage a war on illegal substances. He flung himself into battle. He raided his own company for volunteers and sent them to the 4 corners of the state to study the problem. And when they all returned and presented their reports, Perot thought about it, then came to his own conclusions.

"You know, you can talk all day, but the plain fact was this thing was ruining a lot of lives and you had to take some drastic action," he says.

Because he was a direct and impatient man, Perot wanted to deal with these infinitely complex problems in his own blunt fashion. Perot had decided that the current laws didn't do the job. They were entirely too lenient when it came to the 1st step--marijuana. If you were permissive about that, then users would inevitably slip onto the next step, and the next.

Source: The Man Behind the Myth, by Ken Gross, p. 193-194 , Sep 20, 2000

Assisted Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" program

So he wanted very tough penalties for marijuana pushers. After that, he assisted Nancy Reagan in her "Just say no!" campaign. There were, in all, five bills prepared. Intentionally Draconian, with long mandatory sentencing for dealers to discourage drug distribution to youth, they were quickly passed by the Austin legislature.

Perot's antidrug positions have prompted controversy. Though he denies ever saying it, there are those who attest that Perot once told a Dallas meeting that there would be no way to solve the problem unless you cordoned off certain sections of town--areas notorious for drug use-- and went house to house rooting our violators. It would not be pretty and would not be popular, but then neither was the problem.

Source: The Man Behind the Myth, by Ken Gross, p. 194-195 , Sep 20, 2000

We're 5% of world's population but use 50% of cocaine

I went around the world, took a year on destroyers with sailors who grew up in the Depression. I was the youngest officer. I got aboard the night we left, so I was the youngest officer when we got back, so I got all the dirty jobs. One of them was shore patrol everywhere. If you said, "Ross, did those guys miss anything?" I'd say, "No, I think they tried it all." Then if you had said, "But did they try drugs?" I'd have said, "Oh, no. Sailors don't try drugs. Everybody knows that stuff will kill you." You'd say, "Were there drugs around?" There were drugs everywhere. Today we're 5% percent of the world's population. We use 50% of the world's cocaine. We've got to fix this. Talk is cheap.
Source: The Man Behind the Myth, by Ken Gross, p.230 , Sep 20, 2000

Can’t overstate the damage that drugs are doing

There is no way I can overstate the damage that drugs are doing to this country and to the next generation genetically. If you don’t believe me, go to the charity hospitals and look at those crack babies. It costs $125,000 to bring them into the world. Many of them are permanently genetically damaged, and the mother disappears in three days, and they become wards of the state.
Source: National Press Club interview , Jan 15, 1998

Never hires people who use drugs or alcohol

Source: My Life & Principles for Success, by Ross Perotp.138 , Sep 25, 1996

Cordon off ghettoes to "vacuum up" guns & drugs

After a tour in south Dallas (a black ghetto riddled with crime and drug problems), Perot told a reporter that the "Jamaican drug dealers go around with firepower something like the Delta team would have. And we send police officers in there." His solution was to cordon off south Dallas for a one-night covert operation and send in hundreds of police to "vacuum it up"--search every dwelling and person on the street and confiscate the drugs and weapons. Perot advocated infrared tracking devices that might pinpoint drug locations in a neighborhood.

He also said that police should "just go in there [high-crime neighborhoods], cordon off the whole area, going block by block, looking for guns and drugs." When asked if that did not present a constitutional problem, Perot retorted, "Look, I'm sure that 95% of the people who live there would support this."

Source: Citizen Perot, by Gerald Posner, p.228 , Jul 2, 1993

Longer sentences and more enforcement will solve drug war

In early January 1979, Perot was appointed chairman of the 7-member Texans' War on Drugs Committee. A successful war on drugs seemed straightforward to Perot. "We ought to quit putting teenagers in jail for stealing hubcaps if we can't put the big guys in jail for drug trafficking," he said. An EDS employee he drafted onto his team says, "Dealing with drugs for Ross means tougher and longer sentences and more aggressive law enforcement, it's that simple."

When the Reagan White House later made overtures to Perot about possibly serving as the federal "drug czar," Perot said he would consider it only if "we can force every unidentified plane that crosses our border to land, and if they won't, then we will shoot them down." He did not get the offer.

In 1981, the legislature passed Perot's package. Perot was satisfied with the result of his drug work. "Texas is the worst state to get caught in," he boasted after pushing passage of the legislation.

Source: Citizen Perot, by Gerald Posner, p.123-7 , Jul 2, 1993

Drug traffickers will take advantage of open Mexican border

Mexico is the principal staging area for the shipment of illegal drugs into the US. The NY Times reported that up to 70% of the cocaine consumed in this country is slipped across the US-Mexican border by smugglers working with Colombia’s drug cartels. Today, much of this drug movement is done by illegal immigrants carrying the contraband across the border. Drugs are also smuggled under the border through tunnels.

If NAFTA is enacted, drug smugglers won’t have to go to so much trouble or expense. They can just transport their illegal goods across the border in trucks, and do so with little fear of being caught. US customs officials are already so overworked that they often have less than five minutes to inspect the cargo in trucks crossing the border from Mexico. This is an open invitation to smuggle. Colombian and Mexican drug traffickers are accepting the invitation. These dealers have bought factories and trucking companies that they can use as fronts for smuggling operations.

Source: Save Your Job, Save Our Country, by Ross Perot, p. 6-7 , Jan 1, 1993

Deal with drug problem in military terms

Perot called for new wiretap powers for police, a system to rate judges according to the severity of drug sentencing, and cordoning off black neighborhoods in Dallas for house-to-house searches for drugs by hundreds of police.

He has called for declaring martial law to combat the drug trade. He says, “You can start dealing with the problem in straight military terms.”

Source: Strong-Man Politics, by George Grant, p.111 , Nov 7, 1992

Make drug treatment available to all addicts

As the message against drugs is repeated programs must be put in place to help drug addicts escape from the pit they’ve dug for themselves. Specifically, treatment must be available so that when an addict is ready to confront his or her affliction, help is ready at that moment. Right now more than five million Americans are awaiting drug treatment, including 400,000 teenagers and 100,000 pregnant women. We can only handle 32% of the load. The rest are left to fall even deeper into the pit.
Source: United We Stand, by Ross Perot, p. 84 , Jul 2, 1992

Other candidates on Drugs: Ross Perot on other issues:
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Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
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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)
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Page last updated: Oct 28, 2021