What's New - February 15, 1999

ONDCP Budget/Plan Released

The Federal Government, in the persons of Barry McCaffery and Vice President Al Gore (who seemed to be getting religious about things), have announced the budget for the 1999 Drug Control Strategy. Although details will continue to be worked out over the year, one thing seems certain. There is a renewed interest at the cabinet level on treatment for addiction. It's true that more money has historically been spent on law enforcement, interdiction, and other activities that have spawned the concept of "war on drugs" and it is true that the $1.1 billion increase in the current budget is going more toward supply reduction than demand reduction, but the gap may be narrowing.

You Do the Math!

Here's what I mean. over the past dozen years or so, there has been an ever so slight gain in the percentage of money spent on treatment and prevention - traditionally considered "demand reduction" strategies, compared to interdiction, law enforcement, seizure, foreign programs and other "supply reduction" activities. The change has been from around 30% of total budget to around 33% presently, so less than .3% per year. Of the new money for this year however, fully 44% will be directed towards treatment and prevention programs. A small victory (but a meaningful one) for those who believe that the only successful strategy is to treat the users and prevent more from developing. On the other hand, before too much congratulations go 'round, it would be wise to remember that government spending to solve the drug problem is still a mere fraction of what experts believe our national substance abuse problems cost us each year.

The Federal Budget for 1999 can be found at the Office of National Drug Control Policy web site. You might also want to review the 5 goals and 32 objectives of the plan, also at that site.

Diminish Numbers of Users, Close the Marketplace

Proponents of demand reduction are hopeful that lawmakers and the executive branch finally "get it". A consistent argument has been that if you remove the customers, the sellers will go away as well. The current balance change might suggest that some are beginning to see the wisdom of a focus on demand reduction. Government experts point to measures of treatment effectiveness as the new strategies are unveiled. Proponents often refer to studies which have shown drug treatment to be many times over more effective than foreign crop eradication, border interdiction or domestic law enforcement.

Plan Not Popular with Everyone

Not everyone is happy with the government's response to drug abuse in America. One group advocating wholesale change in U.S. drug policy has an online drug war cost clock where you can see how much is being spent at the Federal and state levels on the "war on drugs". The Drug Policy Foundation was quick to respond the the government's announcement with their rebuttal which focused on the topic of accountability. The DPF fosters a public-health rather than law enforcement model of drug policy, and decries the continued funding of programs reflecting "policies that have not worked in the past and won't work in the future," according to staffers. They single out programs like DARE, which has long been a favorite of funders and has resulted in widespread exposure to kids, but which, detractors say, has not proven to be effective at all.

What's your opinion? Drop me a note and let me know what you think about all this.

New Addiction Related Links

See earlier What's New Pages

Home, New, Facts, Links, Rolodex, Meetings, Topics, Help

The Web of Addictions pages Copyright © 1995, 1996 by Andrew L. Homer Ph.D. andDick Dillon. All rights reserved.

If you know of any addictions related news, web developments, announcements or interestingtidbits, drop us a note. We are interested in publishing articles in this section. If you haveinformation about addictions, you would like to share with the net community, send it to us. We,of course, reserve the right to edit all submissions. We would like to see this area develop as aforum for discussion of addictions related topics.