Despite some encouraging signs, the United States cannnot relax in its fight against drugs, President Reagan has told The Christian Science Monitor. The President warned that cocaine, once a rich man's drug, was now being used by school-aged children.
Mr. Reagan also gave this newspaper a message for other countries:
''We are serious in cracking down on traffickers, dealers and growers. We are serious in stopping the production of illicit drugs wherever it occurs, and international cooperation is essential to our efforts.''
The President made these and other points in written answers to questions submitted as part of this newspaper's three-month probe into the international drug crisis. Replies to questions submitted to Mrs. Nancy Reagan will be included in part two of this series.
Critics in Congress charge that the administration needs a better overall balance in its strategies to reduce supply and demand and to stem trafficking.
But many give the President credit for singling out drugs for action. They praise his efforts to involve community groups.
Asked if he believed the US could really achieve his own goal of a drug-free generation of young people now aged 7 to 17, Mr. Reagan replied, ''I believe we can. We must not accept a goal of anything less.
''Teen-agers themselves are seeing the effects of drugs, including alcohol, on their classmates, neighbors, and families. . . . They see the carnage on the highways and the inability of many classmates to learn to remember things.''
The US, he said, was ''making progress'' against drug abuse, but it took time ''to erase two decades of false security.''
The use of most drugs by Americans under 18 was down, and drug abuse was becoming less acceptable. People were willing to speak out against it.
But the growing use of cocaine was a ''tragic example'' of how widespread the use of drugs has become, the President said.