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Informal Exchange With Reporters on Allegations of Illegal Drug Use by Members of the White House Staff

June 30, 1988

Q. Mr. President, were you surprised by allegations of drug use in the White House?

The President. No, we've known this for a while, and the investigation goes on. And I think it's just evidence of what we've been saying, and particularly what Nancy has been saying, and that is that this problem -- no one is exempt. This problem crosses all kinds of lines.

Q. What should happen to those who have been -- if they are proven to have used drugs?

The President. Well, if it's just a case of using them, I would like to see us do our best to get them in a drug treatment organization -- and that they will agree to accepting a cure.

Q. So, the policy is going to be, give them a second chance?

The President. I have always said that I think that -- this is another indication of why compulsory drug testing is not bad. It is, I think, one of the principal answers. But let the people know that we'll do our best to salvage anyone who has been addicted.

Q. Isn't it true, Mr. President, that it wasn't drug testing that caught these people; it was actually a tip?

The President. I'm not commenting on the investigation, but it certainly wasn't drug testing, no, because we haven't been doing that.

Q. Well, wouldn't that mean that you should encourage whistle-blowers instead of drug testing?

The President. No, I think drug testing is the best way.

Q. Are you -- --

The President. What's that?

Q. Are you upset that it was here in the White House?

The President. Well, yes, of course, I'm upset when it's found anywhere. Incidentally, I've taken my test. [Laughter]

Q. Was Mrs. Reagan upset? Mrs. Reagan upset about this? Have you discussed it?

The President. Of course you're upset about something of this kind. Any evidence of it -- --

Q. But you and your wife were never in any personal danger due to the nature of their duties?

The President. No, I wouldn't think so.

Note: The exchange began at 11:56 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House.