14 October 1982

USA President Ronald Reagan announces a War on Drugs.


On this day in 1982, President Ronald Reagan declared illicit drugs to be a threat to U.S. national security.

Richard M. Nixon, the president who popularized the term “war on drugs,” first used the words in 1971. However, the policies that his administration implemented as part of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 dated to Woodrow Wilson’s presidency and the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914. This was followed by the creation of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1930.

Speaking at the Justice Department, Reagan likened his administration’s determination to discourage the flow and use of banned substances to the obstinacy of the French army at the Battle of Verdun in World War I — with a literal spin on the “war on drugs.” The president quoted a French soldier who said, “There are no impossible situations. There are only people who think they’re impossible.”

Spreading the anti-drug message, first lady Nancy Reagan toured elementary schools, warning students about the danger of illicit drugs. When a fourth grader at Longfellow Elementary School in Oakland, Calif., asked her what to do if approached by someone offering drugs, the first lady responded: “Just say no.”

In 1988, Reagan created the Office of National Drug Control Policy to coordinate drug-related legislative, security, diplomatic, research and health policy throughout the government. Successive agency directors were dubbed “drug czars” by the media. In 1993, President Bill Clinton raised the post to Cabinet-level status.

On May 13, 2009, R. Gil Kerlikowske, the current director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, signaled that though the Obama administration did not plan to significantly alter drug enforcement policies, it would not use the term “war on drugs,” saying it was “counterproductive.”

2 January 1967

Ronald Reagan become the Governor of California.

Ronald Reagan was the Governor of California for two terms, the first beginning in 1967 and the second in 1971. He left office in 1975, declining to run for a third term. Robert Finch, Edwin Reinecke, and John L. Harmer served as lieutenant governors over the course of his governorship.California Republicans were impressed with Reagan’s political views and charisma after his “A Time for Choosing” speech,and nominated him as the Republican party candidate for Governor in 1966.

Reagan’s campaign emphasized two main themes: “to send the welfare bums back to work”, and regarding burgeoning anti-war and anti-establishment student protests at UC Berkeley, “to clean up the mess at Berkeley”. He was elected, defeating two-term governor Edmund G. “Pat” Brown by nearly a million votes, and was sworn in on January 2, 1967 at ten minutes past midnight.In 1988, Reagan explained that this time was chosen because his predecessor, Governor Brown, “had been filling up the ranks of appointments and judges” in the days before his term ended. Professor Marcello Truzzi, a sociologist at Eastern Michigan University who studied the Reagans’ interest in astrology, regarded this explanation as “preposterous”, as the decision to be sworn in at that odd time of day was made six weeks earlier, and was based on advice from Reagan’s long-time friend, the astrologer Carroll Righter.

Reagan was elected to his first term as Governor of California on November 8, 1966 with 57.65% of the vote.

27 October 1988

Ronald Reagan stops construction of the new US Embassy in Moscow after Soviet listening devices are found in the building structure.


United States President Ronald Reagan has decided to tear down its new Moscow embassy building, which is heavily penetrated by Soviet listening devices and build a replacement. The Administration has been trying to decide what to do about the building since the existence of the listening devices was disclosed last year.

Government intelligence experts would be reluctant to certify that the American embassy structures are protected against Soviet spying unless an entirely new structure is built. Because Congress has adjourned, Mr. Reagan’s decision to consult lawmakers apparently postpones final action on demolishing the building to his successor and the 101st Congress, which will be asked to provide the money, possibly hundreds of millions of dollars, for the job.

Construction of the chancery was halted in 1985 because of suspicions that the Soviets had planted listening devices. American intelligence specialists have been examining the structure to try to determine how the Soviet spying techniques work. If the chancery is saved, the building would be used for unclassified activities, while the old embassy building next door would be refurbished and used for classified activities. Soviet officials will not be able to occupy a new Soviet Embassy office building until the American chancery is demolished and replaced.