*LEF323   10/05/94


TR94100523 (Republicans assail Clinton's approach) +rd (640)

By Ralph Dannheisser

USIA Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- The recently passed crime bill gives the Clinton

administration valuable new tools in the fight on drugs, the director of

the president's Office of National Drug Control Policy has told a Senate


Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee Oct. 5, Director Lee Brown

lauded Congress' action in authorizing funds for "police, punishment and

prevention," even though he criticized the lawmakers for granting much less

than the administration requested for treatment programs for hardcore


Committee Chairman Joseph Biden (D-Del.) shared Brown's upbeat assessment,

terming the crime law a "major step in the right direction" in combating

the "drug epidemic that has become such a pervasive part of life in


But the drug policy chief's comments were greeted skeptically by members of

the committee's Republican minority, who accused the administration of

abandoning antidrug efforts used to great result by the former Reagan and

Bush administrations.

Brown, a former police commissioner in New York, Houston and Atlanta, told

the panel that he and the administration see the prevalence of drugs as an

integral part of a much broader problem in society.

"While not excusing any criminal behavior, the administration believes an

effective drug and crime strategy must be cognizant of the poverty,

hopelessness and lack of opportunity in many of our communities.  Solving

the drug problem therefore involves a willingness to recognize the

importance of good schools, good jobs, accessible health care, decent

housing and safe communities," he said.

Addressing the administration's emphasis on treatment for hardcore drug

1sers -- many of them criminals -- Brown observed that its strategy called

for treatment of 140,000 addicts in the 1995 fiscal year that began Oct. 1.

But he noted that Congress chose not to provide the $355 million requested

for that program, and approved only $57 million in additional funds for

locally administered substance abuse prevention and treatment programs --

enough to treat only about 6,500 heavy users.

"While the administration welcomes any increase in the treatment budget

during a time of such fiscal restraint, it is extremely difficult to carry

out our strategy without obtaining a substantial amount of the funds

requested for drug treatment," Brown said.

Still, he said, the new law "includes the most serious commitment to

hard-core drug treatment ever enacted by the federal government."  He

specifically cited a $1,000 million, six-year commitment to "drug court"

programs designed to support intensive supervision of drug dependent

defendants and divert non-violent offenders into drug treatment.

Brown emphasized that "addressing chronic hardcore drug use and providing

increased access to treatment" remain the administration's top priorities

in the field.  But he conceded that programs to implement these goals must

be redesigned into ones that Congress will agree to fund in "an ever

tightening fiscal climate."

Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the panel's senior Republican, expressed

misgivings as to whether "focusing on hard-core addicts in prison is the

best use of limited resources."  And, he said, "treating convicts before

users in the general population may send the wrong signal about our

priorities, especially when these convicts are rewarded with early


More broadly, Hatch complained that "we have not had strong leadership in

this fight from President Clinton."  While casual drug use dropped by more

than half between 1977 and 1982, he said, "under President Clinton's

leadership, we are losing ground," with use of marijuana, LSD and other

drugs once again rising.

He charged that Clinton has adopted a policy that "surrenders much of our

previous international intelligence efforts to drug cartels, retreats on

tough law enforcement, cuts federal law enforcement personnel to an

unprecedented degree, and abandons personal accountability by proposing the

early release of drug offenders."