WASHINGTON (AP) _ Religious leaders are being asked to speak out against drug use, White House drug policy director Barry McCaffrey announced at Thursday's annual observance of the National Day of Prayer.

McCaffrey said the White House, as part of its drug control strategy, has been reaching out to religious groups of all denominations to get them involved.

The latest government report, in December, found that teen use has stabilized after years on the rise, although it is still more widespread than in the early 1990s.

But McCaffrey said discouraging drug use by young people is one of the best investments in the country's future. He said religion plays an important role in building the social values teens need to resist the lure of illegal substances.

``Never before in our nation's history has it been more important to pray for our young people,'' McCaffrey said at the ceremony in the Capitol.

The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance, established by an act of Congress in 1952. It is held on the first Thursday in May.