03 February 1999
($17,800 million contains $735 million increase) (790) By Bruce Carey USIA Staff Writer WASHINGTON -- President Clinton has asked Congress for $17,800 million to deal with the illicit drug menace during the fiscal year that begins October 1. The request would increase anti-drug spending by $735 million over the current fiscal year, says a February 1 press release from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Programs fall into two broad categories -- demand reduction and supply reduction. Additional resources for demand reduction are managed mostly by the Department of Health and Human Services. They include programs to increase the availability of drug treatment, to provide basic research on drug use, and to continue prevention efforts aimed at school children. Supply reduction programs conducted largely by the Departments of Justice, Treasury, Transportation, State, and Defense include support for security along the southwest U.S. border, aid for eradication and interdiction efforts, especially in the Andean region, Mexico, and the Caribbean, and continued enforcement targeting both smuggled and domestic illegal drugs. Following is a synopsis of the program areas slated to receive major funding increases: DEMAND REDUCTION Youth Prevention -- School Coordinators. This program began recently and would receive an increase from $35 million to $50 million. It hires drug prevention coordinators in nearly half the middle schools across the country to help improve the quality and effectiveness of drug prevention programs. -- National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. ONDCP operates this program to spread the word among U.S. youth that drugs are a deadly menace. The high-impact media messages are designed to change naive adolescent perceptions of the danger of social approval of drugs. Funding would rise from $185 million this year to $195 million next year. Criminal Justice Programs -- Drug Intervention. The Justice Department administers this new program to assist state and local government drug testing and drug treatment of users. The budget provides for $100 million for this initial effort. -- Drug Courts. This highly successful program provides alternatives to imprisonment using the coercive power of the state courts to steer individual drug users away from illegal substances. Judges can tap into the government funds, which the budget proposes to raise from $40 million this year to $50 million next year, to give drug offenders who are not major suppliers access to special help. Offenders are given the chance to change their behavior through a combination of escalating sanctions, mandatory drug testing, and strong aftercare facilities. Treatment -- Substance Abuse Block Grants. The Department of Health and human Services grants blocks of money to states for treatment and prevention services, and is the backbone of federal efforts to reduce the gap between those seeking treatment and the limited capacity of the treatment system. The new budget would fund the program at an additional $30 million, bringing the total under the new budget to $1,615 million. Treatment Capacity Expansion Grants. This program would double the Department of Health and Human Services' current grant of $55 million to $110 million for next year. The initiative targets areas of the country where the need for drug treatment is emerging and to fund treatment for the first time in those areas. SUPPLY REDUCTION All supply reduction programs are carried out through domestic and international law enforcement activities, sometimes supported by the military. -- Southwest Border. The administration is asking for an increase from $416.8 million this year to $450.8 million for next year for the Border Patrol. Part of the increase would be for deployment of infrared and color cameras with ground sensors in the effort to stop drugs from smuggling across the Mexico-U.S. border. -- International Programs. The State Department would receive an additional $29 million to support international organizations that fight illegal drug traffic, rising from $236 million this year to $265 next year. -- Drug Intelligence. The Drug Enforcement Administration would receive an additional $66 million, rising from $1,299 million this year to $1,365 million next year, partly to complete the new automated electronic investigative records system. Once this highly sophisticated enforcement tool is deployed, DEA will be able to act as one unit worldwide to provide instantaneous access to critical law enforcement and intelligence information. -- Forward Operating Locations. This is essentially a new program to compensate for the expected closing of Howard Air Force Base in Panama, which deploys aircraft to assist law enforcement agencies locate air and sea shipments of illegal drugs. When Howard closes, the extra $73.5 million requested for the Defense Department's anti-drug activities would give the Southern Command three FOLs to continue supporting this effort.