DrugSense FOCUS Alert #196 January 26, 2001 

DrugSense FOCUS Alert #196 January 26, 2001 
Posted by FoM on January 27, 2001 at 09:25:11 PT
Drug Warriors Fabricate Budget Numbers Too
Source: MapInc.
Drug war supporters frequently pull "facts" out of thin air. These alleged facts (circulated most prominently by former Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey) are designed to show that drug war isn't really a disaster. Now it seems some have also been creating false budgets to suggest that the drug war is more humane than it really is. As the Boston Globe reported this week, a new study indicates that some drug law enforcers have greatly overstated the percentage of money being spent on treatment. 
McCaffrey and his apologists made much of the general's supposed support for a kinder and gentler drug war that was based on treatment and prevention. But, this study proves that it's all just more disinformation, and that nobody really knows exactly how much money is being wasted on anti-drug efforts in general. Please write a letter to the Boston Globe to say drug warriors have to fudge their facts, or everyone would know just how counterproductive the drug war is.WRITE A LETTER TODAYIt's not what others do it's what YOU do PLEASE SEND US A COPY OF YOUR LETTER OR TELL US WHAT YOU DID (Letter, Phone, fax etc.)Please post a copy your letter or report your action to the sent letter list: sentlte if you are subscribed, or by E-mailing a copy directly to: MGreer Your letter will then be forwarded to the list with so others can learn from your efforts and be motivated to follow suit This is VERY IMPORTANT as it is the only way we have of gauging our impact and effectiveness. CONTACT INFO:Source: Boston Globe (MA) Contact: letter ARTICLEUS: US Is Said To Overstate Spending On Drug Care URL: Newshawk: Kim Hanna, Sledhead, FoM, Richard Evans and Mark Greer Pubdate: Wed, 24 Jan 2001 Source: Boston Globe (MA) Copyright: 2001 Globe Newspaper Company Contact: letter Address: P.O. Box 2378, Boston, MA 02107-2378 Feedback: Website: Author: John Donnelly Cited: US IS SAID TO OVERSTATE SPENDING ON DRUG CARE Report Cites $1b In Discrepancies WASHINGTON - Promising to further stoke the debate over America's controversial war against drugs, a Rand Corporation study has found that three federal agencies overstated their spending on drug treatment by $1 billion, and that the reported costs of some law enforcement efforts are no more than "educated guesses." "I tracked down one budget guy for the Border Patrol and asked how they figured out the drug budget and he told me, 'We made it up,"' said Patrick J. Murphy, one of the study's authors and an assistant professor of politics at the University of San Francisco. "He said 10 percent of their budget seemed too low, 20 percent too high, so they settled on 15 percent."The report, a copy of which was obtained by the Globe, was requested by Barry R. McCaffrey, who stepped down last month as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. It examined 10 agencies that report their drug budgets to the drug policy office. There were no allegations of misspending in the report, but the survey said "flawed" reporting techniques made it impossible to know how much money was actually spent on the battle against illicit drug use. Critics of US drug policy have long argued that it gives short shrift to treatment programs designed to help addicts overcome their cravings. McCaffrey, who did not return telephone calls seeking comment, insisted on completing the potentially embarrassing report because he wanted a better accounting of the drug war, the authors said. They noted that he had long been bothered by seemingly soft figures in agencies' budgets, even though he continued to cite the inflated treatment numbers in his defense of drug-control policy. The drug policy office said in a statement that it "asked for the Rand reports because we want the most reliable data" and that it has "used the Rand findings, and will continue to do so, to improve the way drug budgets are presented to the Congress and the public." Rand is a consulting and research firm known for its work on complex subjects. The statement said that the FBI drug methodology has been corrected and that the Veterans Affairs and Education departments changed their data collection so as to "substantially address Rand's findings." It gave no specifics.The most politically sensitive aspect of the Rand study, which for more than a year examined the 1998 federal drug budget of $16 billion, may be the amount spent on drug treatment. In 1998, McCaffrey's office said US agencies spent $2.8 billion on drug treatment. Rand said the actual number was closer to $1.8 billion, or 36 percent less than reported. That finding upset several members of Congress."If a guy wants to surrender himself for drug treatment in this country, there are not enough places to go," said Representative J. Joseph Moakley, a Democrat from Boston. "I think it's terrible if they are inflating figures that show there's more drug treatment than there actually is."Added Representative John F. Tierney, a Democrat from Salem: "Before we ask for more drug-control money, we ought to be sure where it's going." The largest discrepancy originated from Veterans Affairs, which reported spending $363 million on specialized care for drug addicts and $710 million on related treatment for those with substance abuse problems, according to Rand.Veterans Affairs spokesman Jo Schuda said the department could not comment on the report because it had not seen a copy. She said the department reported spending $407 million on specialized care for drug addicts in 1998, and $1.1 billion overall for medical care of addicts, slightly higher numbers than Rand's. Murphy, one of the study's authors, said the department included in its accounting, for example, "heroin addicts who were seeking treatment for a broken arm, not drug treatment." "If people are serious about spending money on drug treatment, they are going to have to look at the level of services they have been providing, and it's much less than they had thought," Murphy said. The report praised the Coast Guard, Bureau of Prisons, and Defense Department for the accuracy of their accounting. But it said the methodologies used for the Immigration and Naturalization Service and Customs "are based largely on educated guesses." The collection of data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which administers about $2 billion in block grants to states for drug prevention, "is a collection of arbitrary assumptions and rules," the report said. And the 1998 figures from the Health Care Financing Administration are based on patient diagnoses and costs, "but the patient data are taken from a 1983 study," the report said. The Rand report recommends that the drug control office "define explicitly what constitutes an antidrug activity" and that budgets should be based on "empirical data, something more than guesses or expert judgments."Lynn E. Davis, a senior fellow at Rand and another of the report's five authors, said that without better figures, the drug office is unable to "measure performance against its goals." She also said the lessons in the report could be applied to other federal offices that compile figures from several agencies "to give Congress and the American people a sense whether the right priorities of money are being allocated, or whether there are gaps." Herbert Kleber, medical director of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse in New York and deputy head of demand reduction in the drug policy office from 1989 to 1991, said the Veterans Affairs Department has "gotten a free ride" for some time on categorizing non-drug-related medical care as drug treatment. He called the level of funding for treatment a "bipartisan failure. ... It doesn't seem to matter whether you have Democrats or Republicans, drug treatment doesn't get a lot of play. No one ever lost an election being soft on drug treatment." Many Democrats are expected to ask for a major jump in drug treatment funding. One of them is Representative Nancy Pelosi of California. "We are going to have much stronger oversight to make sure that money is being spent in a cost-effective way to face the demand," Pelosi said.SAMPLE LETTERTo the editor of the Boston Globe: Is anyone really surprised that drug warriors have been misleading the public on how much money is being spent on drug treatment and other aspects of anti-drug spending? The whole war on drugs has always been based on lies and misinformation - why should budgeting for treatment be any different? In his final days as Drug Czar, Barry McCaffrey's arm must have become sore from all that patting himself on the back. Remember the talk about his great strides in humanizing the drug war by increasing funding for treatment? But now, like most of McCaffrey's rhetoric, his assertions prove to be, at best, questionable. Only in the drug war could a career soldier take the helm and then repeatedly claim that it wasn't really a war. I hope more concerned citizens are starting to understand the looking glass world of the drug war, where up is really down and where freedom is achieved through a police state. Stephen YoungIMPORTANT: Always include your address and telephone numberPlease note: If you choose to use this letter as a model please modify it at least somewhat so that the paper does not receive numerous copies of the same letter and so that the original author receives credit for his/her work. ADDITIONAL INFO to help you in your letter writing efforts3 Tips for Letter Writers: Letter Writers Style Guide: TO SUBSCRIBE, DONATE, VOLUNTEER TO HELP, OR UPDATE YOUR EMAIL SEE: UNSUBSCRIBE SEE: Prepared by Stephen YoungFocus Alert Specialist FOCUS Alert #195 January 21, 2001 FOCUS Alert #192 December 7, 2000 FOCUS Alert # 191 December 3, 2000 MapInc. Archives 
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on July 26, 2001 at 09:36:09 PT
DrugSense FOCUS Alert #216 - July 25, 2001
The Media Awareness Project Pictures Prostitutes "TRAFFIC" DrugSense FOCUS Alert #216 Wednesday, July 25, 2001 When the movie 'Traffic' was released, the media and the drug policy reform community both credited it with opening the debate on drug policy. See: That the Drug Czar, played by Michael Douglas, would walk away from the job after seeing the drug war as a war on Americans sent a strong signal. Many drug policy organizations helped promote 'Traffic,' running banner ads and contests, or distributing leaflets outside theaters.(br)(br) Last week Universal Pictures sent a message to reform organizations asking them to promote with banner ads the Pay Per View release of the film. The message said, in part:
CannabisNews Articles - Traffic The Movie
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 07, 2001 at 20:36:25 PT:
DrugSense FOCUS Alert #200 March 6, 2001 
Lack Of Drug War Pardons Is Also A Scandal NOTE: This is The 200th Focus Alert DrugSense and MAP have distributed to thousands of letter writing volunteers in our ongoing attempt to educate the media and thereby the public on a wide range of drug policy topics. Please use this milestone as the catalyst to renew your commitment and make an extra attempt to become even more involved in our group letter writing efforts. It's not what others do it's what YOU do Outrage over former President Clinton's use of his pardon power has focused mostly on the role money played in influencing pardon decisions. While that may be troubling, it is even more outrageous to think about some of the drug war victims who really deserved presidential help.Columnist Cynthia Tucker does so this week in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Please write a letter to the paper to say that the real scandal of the pardon story is that those who have faced great injustice because of the drug war received little or no consideration.
DrugSense FOCUS Alert #200 March 6, 2001 
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