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Quotes From the Surgeon General

February 8, 2002

Quotes from Surgeon General David Satcher, from an interview this week with The Associated Press:

_On allegations during the anthrax attacks that officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were more concerned with congressional staff on Capitol Hill than postal workers:

``If I believed that what happened ... was discrimination I would have said that. I didn’t believe that. I believe they made the best decision based on the information they had. It was very hard because I understood the feelings, I understood the emotions. I think there is validity in suspecting that (discrimination) could happen.″

_On why he supports educating teen-agers about birth control while also recommending abstinence:

``We say to young people `don’t drink,′ but we say ‘if you do drink, don’t drive.’ I see this the same way. We want to talk as if everyone’s going to be abstinent. We want them to be abstinent, but we know 65 percent of high school students are sexually active before they graduate. There has to be a balanced message.″

_On the difference he made as a black man in a top post:

``Based on my own experience growing up in Alabama, in a home where neither parent was educated, I know role models make a difference... When you see someone in a position like that it raises your aspirations, it raises your hope about what you can do in your own life.″

_On the perils of being a black man in a top post:

``This is still a town where it’s not easy for African-Americans, especially African-American men, to get the same kind of credibility... It’s our whole history in this country. I don’t think we’re free of our history yet. I think we’re still struggling with our history.″

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