Clinton Seeks Drug Prevention Money!

Clinton Seeks Drug Prevention Money!
Posted by FoM on January 29, 1999 at 17:03:35 PT

WASHINGTONThe White House drug policy office plans to ask Congress for more money this year to boost its drug prevention and treatment efforts, even as some Republicans say they would like more focus on eradicating illegal narcotics at their source. 
Methadone treatment of heroin addiction, drug courts and prison testing are some of the areas that could receive a boost in the Clinton administration's budget proposal, which will be outlined Monday. The Office of National Drug Control Policy received $17 billion for the current fiscal year, up from $13.2 billion in 1995, and expects to request more for next year, officials said. ``For many years, the prevention side was downplayed,'' said James McDonough, chief strategist at the drug policy office. ``That's where we're going to have to grow.'' In the last four years, the administration has already expanded its budget for drug prevention by 40 percent, and for drug addiction treatment by 17 percent. The office says such measures have shown results: this December it reported that teen drug use was stabilizing after years on the rise, although it's still much higher than in the early 1990s. The number of drug-related murders also continues to drop. ``I think we've made some progress in the past year,'' says Rep. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. He pointed to a $1 billion, five-year advertising campaign launched last year that targets young adults as an example of drug prevention efforts. But some members of Congress say they'll be looking for more concrete evidence the ads are a worthwhile investment. ``That's one area we are going to carefully look at,'' says Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., who heads the Committee on Government Reform's panel on criminal justice, drug policy and human resources. Mica also said he hopes to re-start some drug eradication and interdiction programs cut in the mid-1990s. At Republican urging, Congress authorized $690 million in emergency spending this summer for illegal drug interdiction, money that has helped to pay for more coast guard and military personnel to fight drug smuggling. There has been a sharp drop in coca farming in the two countries that traditionally supply most of the drug crop -- Peru and Bolivia. But that success has been offset by increases in Colombia, the drug office says. Still, that will allow the administration to focus on one country, rather than three, in curbing supply, says McDonough. The administration also says it would like to see more agents patrolling the Southwest border. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, would also like to see improved technology for halting drug traffickers, particularly at border crossings. But Reyes, a former border patrol chief, says simply halting the supply is not enough: He also supports such initiatives as drug courts, which allow those convicted of nonviolent crimes to go into rehabilitation instead of prison. The drug office also will try to gain support in Congress for treatment programs, including those using methadone. 
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