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Up in Smoke:  ONDCP's Wasted Efforts in the War on Drugs
A Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) Special Report

 
by Angela French; Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW); 2005-05-11
Posted 5/25/2005:
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Introduction

Established in 1988 to oversee all aspects of America’s war on drugs and to coordinate U.S. domestic and international anti-drug efforts, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has morphed into a federal wasteland, throwing taxpayer money toward numerous high-priced drug control programs that have failed to show results.  After 17 years of operation and funding, ONDCP has not achieved its objectives of reducing “illicit drug use, manufacturing, and trafficking, drug-related crime and violence, and drug-related health consequences.”[1] 

Instead of curbing America’s drug problem, ONDCP has wasted $4.2 billion since fiscal 1997 on media advertising, fighting state legislation, and deficient anti-drug trafficking programs.  ONDCP’s fiscal 2005 budget of $507 million will fund such diverse functions as local law enforcement, cracking down on medical marijuana use, drug research and treatment, and the eradication of coca crops in Latin America. 

Many of ONDCP’s outreach efforts focus on reducing marijuana use.  In fact, since Arizona and California passed medicinal marijuana laws in November 1996, ONDCP has been intent on reducing the popularity of marijuana in the U.S.  The agency created the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign in 1998 just for that purpose.  ONDCP also began campaigning against state ballot initiatives legalizing the use of medicinal marijuana, which is an infringement upon states’ rights, a blatant misuse of tax dollars, and in contravention of ONDCP’s original mission.  The White House’s drug office should use its resources to root out major drug operations in the U.S. instead of creating propaganda-filled news videos and flying across the country on the taxpayers’ dime. 

Another ONDCP program, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program (HIDTA), has become a pork-saturated program that has been warped into a platform for cities to receive more funds for local law enforcement and small drug operations instead of being used for HIDTA’s stated purpose of controlling the presence of drugs at the border.  Typical of any mismanaged government-run program, members of Congress have seized upon the opportunity to ship HIDTA money to their own states and districts for political gain rather than to stop the influx of drugs.  Now, states like California and Florida, which have been entitled to HIDTA monies to protect America’s borders from drugs, must split funds with non-border states like Nebraska, West Virginia, and Wyoming.  HIDTA cannot effectively stop drug trafficking when its resources are being diverted away from the border states.  Congress has the chance to re-focus HIDTA by approving the President’s fiscal 2006 budget proposal to reduce funding and consolidate the program with the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) drug control programs.  Rather than throwing more money at the drug problem, ONDCP should focus its resources where it will achieve the best results for taxpayers. 


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Dr. DeLuca's Addiction, Pain, and Public Health website

Alexander DeLuca, M.D., FASAM

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Originally posted:  5/25/2005

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