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Drug Strategies Releases Report on Federal Drug Control Spending


March 1995

A new analysis by the non-profit group Drug Strategies looks at federal spending for drug control and finds the nation's priorities are not addressing the problems associated with drug abuse (Drug Strategies, "Keeping Score: What Are We Getting for Our Federal Drug Control Dollars," 1995).

The handsomely-designed report examines trends in drug use and addiction, the links among drug use, crime and the criminal justice system, drugs in the workplace, and the public health consequences of the drug problem. Each section is followed by specific approaches to target problems in each area.

Since 1981, the federal government has spent almost $100 billion on drug control, with little noticeable effect on addiction or drug-related crime, the report states. Only one-third of the drug control dollar goes to prevention and treatment. The remainder goes for law enforcement and interdiction, areas that are least cost-effective and make the smallest impact on the drug problem.

"What we have to show for a major drug interdiction program is more people in jail cells," said Drug Strategies Chairman and former Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt.

The report finds that solutions to the problems associated with drug abuse can be cost-effectively managed through treatment and prevention programs that focus on families, schools, and communities.

White House Office of National Drug Control Strategy Director Lee Brown agreed with the recommendations in the report. "Prevention and treatment work, and can substantially reduce the demand for drugs," he said.

The report includes a "score card" for respondents to rate the federal government's job in drug control.

[To receive a copy of "Keeping Score," contact Drug Strategies at 2445 M Street, NW, Suite 480, Washington, DC 20037, 202-663-6090.]