Forcing the Clinton administration to focus more of its anti-drug efforts on interdicting illicit substances as they near U.S. borders will be a top priority of the new Republican Congress, Senate Republicans say.

"It is now clear that the Clinton administration drug policy is failing," incoming Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, wrote in a letter to Lee Brown, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.Hatch, the next chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Friday released the letter to Brown and a second letter to President Clinton that he co-signed with Sen. Connie Mack, R-Fla.

In the letter to Clinton, Hatch and Mack expressed "grave concern" about the direction of the war on drugs.

The administration policy has emphasized detection and interdiction of drugs in the countries where they are grown and processed and treatment of hard-core users in America, with less stress on transit and border interdiction.

Under Clinton, about 60 percent of the $13 billion anti-drug budget is spent to reduce supplies of illicit substances, with the rest used for programs to reduce demand. The ratio during the Bush presidency was about 70-30.

Hatch and Mack wrote to Clinton that it was "reckless to diminish our resources for interdiction activities near our borders" when the effectiveness of eradicating drugs in source countries was unclear.

The letter to Brown cited recent surveys showing that drug use among young people was up and that "the focus on treating hard-core addicts has provided no demonstrable progress in reducing the addict population."

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By cutting the Pentagon's drug- interdiction program, Hatch and Dole wrote, "our resources have been focused on stopping the flow of drugs at the gram or the kilo level on the street, rather than on stopping the tonnage coming in over our borders."

Ginny Terzano, a White House spokeswoman, said Clinton had submitted the largest drug-control budget ever, $13.2 billion, for fiscal year 1994, only to see it cut by Congress.

"What the president's strategy does is say we're not going to wait for you at the border, we're going to come after you at the source," she said. "He has said repeatedly that we need a proper balance. You have to address the demand as well as the supply by focusing not only on interdiction but treatment as well."

Hatch's press spokesman, Paul Smith, said the Utah senator's top priorities when he takes over the Judiciary Committee in January will be a balanced budget amendment and anti-crime legislation.

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