Mr. Bush offered a new argument in the fight against drugs while signing a bill to expand a federal anti-drug program over the next five years.
"Drug abuse threatens everything, everything that is best about our country," he said. "It breaks the bond between parent and child. It turns productive citizens into addicts. It transforms schools into places of violence and chaos. It makes playgrounds into crime scenes. It supports gangs at home."
"And abroad, it's important for Americans to know that trafficking of drugs finances the world of terror, sustaining terrorists," the president said.
The administration has linked the al-Qaida network in Afghanistan to heroin trafficking. The terrorist group, led by Osama bin Laden, is suspected in the Sept. 11 attacks on America.
The bill signed by Mr. Bush expands the Drug-Free Communities Support Program, which helps community groups reduce illegal drugs. The program's budget is about $50 million, and would almost double in five years under the bill.
"Over time, drugs rob men, women and children of their dignity and of their character," Mr. Bush said. "Illegal drugs are the enemies of ambition and hope and when we fight against drugs we fight for the souls of our fellow Americans."
©MMI The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed