June 22-26, 2001

 
 
ADOPTED RESOLUTIONS: CRIMINAL AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

A COMPREHENSIVE NATIONAL SUBSTANCE ABUSE STRATEGY

WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors has long been concerned about substance abuse and its impacts on cities of all sizes; and

WHEREAS, in 1997, the Conference sponsored a National Forum on Drug Control in Washington, DC and released a National Action Plan to Control Drugs which was developed by mayors, police chiefs, and prosecutors; and

WHEREAS, in 1999, an estimated 14.8 million Americans twelve years of age and older were current illicit drug users; and

WHEREAS, substance abuse touches communities of all sizes, as documented in a report commissioned by the Conference and prepared by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, entitled "No Place to Hide: Substance Abuse in Mid-Sized Cities and Rural America," which found that in 1999, when comparing 8th-graders in cities versus rural areas, rural children were:

  • 78 percent likelier to have used amphetamines, including meth, than those in urban areas;
  • 75 percent likelier to use crack cocaine;
  • 52 percent likelier to use cocaine; and
  • 26 percent likelier to smoke marijuana; and

WHEREAS, the substance abuse issue continues to evolve, with drugs such as methamphetamine and MDMA (commonly called ecstasy or XTC) becoming more popular; and

WHEREAS, for example, in 1998 there were an estimated 378,000 new methamphetamine users, up from 149,000 in 1990. For young adults age 18-25, first use of meth increased between 1990 and 1998 from 3.0 to 6.1 per 1,000 potential new users; and

WHEREAS, trial use of ecstasy has increased from five percent in 1995 to ten percent. Nearly one-third (32 percent) of teens in 2000 reported they had close friends who used ecstasy, up significantly from 24 percent in 1998 and 26 percent in 1999. A 2000 study reports that past-year use of ecstasy by 8th graders increased 82 percent (from 1.7 percent to 3.1 percent) between 1999 and 2000. Past-month use of MDMA by 10th graders increased 44 percent (from 1.8 percent to 2.6 percent) and past-year use by 12th graders increased 46 percent, from 5.6 percent to 8.2 percent; and

WHEREAS, among 12th graders, the perceived availability of ecstasy rose sharply - an increase of 28 percent. This is the largest one-year percentage point increase in the availability measure among 12th graders for any drug class in the 26-year history of the NIDA Monitoring the Future study; and

WHEREAS, prisons and jails hold approximately 2,054,694 persons, and 4.4 million offenders are in community programs; and

WHEREAS, a report issued by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), entitled "Behind Bars: Substance Abuse and America's Prison Population," found that drug and alcohol abuse and addiction are implicated in the crimes and incarceration of 80 percent of the approximately two million men and women behind bars in America; and

WHEREAS, it is estimated that a million offenders under criminal justice supervision need, and are not getting, substance abuse treatment; and

WHEREAS, it is estimated that more than 600,000 (up from the average of 550,000) people will return to their communities from state and federal prisons in 2001; and according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, most are untreated, and many are dangerous, unemployable, or sick; and

WHEREAS, over two-thirds will be rearrested within three years of release; and

WHEREAS, in 1999 over $19 billion was spent by the federal government on drug policy programs in the United States of which approximately 30 percent went towards education, prevention and treatment, with the remaining 70 percent towards law enforcement efforts; and

WHEREAS, drug treatment has been shown to have an immediate impact on the level of drug use and associated crime, and retention in drug treatment is also significant for future behavior. Longitudinal studies have repeatedly shown that drug use and criminal activity decline upon entry into treatment and remain below pre-treatment levels for up to six years. Therefore, public safety is a primary beneficiary of drug treatment programs; and

WHEREAS, America's cities are on the front line of the nation's substance abuse issue,

WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors leadership has been involved in policy discussions with top White House officials on the issue of substance abuse,

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on the Congress and the Administration to develop a national, comprehensive substance abuse prevention, treatment and enforcement policy; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that there must be an increased emphasis on providing resources for substance abuse prevention and treatment, including drug courts, directly to cities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a national policy on substance abuse prevention must solicit the involvement of parents, teachers, community leaders, the faith-based community, mayors, mentors, the media, and the private sector in educating the nation's youth about the life-threatening consequences of drug use; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a complete audit must be conducted of all federal resources spent on substance abuse related programs to determine where these funds, especially those flowing through state agencies, are being allocated; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a national, comprehensive substance abuse prevention and treatment policy must provide mayors with an oversight role in directing the flow of treatment resources at the local level; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that treatment should be made available to any American who desires to rid him/herself of substance abuse; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors commends HHS and SAMHSA for working with mayors to launch the new Targeted Capacity Assistance program that funds local governments directly in their efforts to respond to emerging drug problems and to address unmet treatment needs, and calls for a major increase in this funding source; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Medicaid reimbursement for drug treatment should be expanded by allowing states the option of: 1) covering treatment - including services in hospitals, outpatient clinics, residential facilities or any center licensed by the state; and 2) providing drug treatment to financially-eligible single individuals as well as pregnant women and families; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the federal government must adopt a strategy to reduce the availability of drugs in federal and federally supported prisons and jails, and ensure that adequate treatment exists for prisoners prior to their release and while on probation or parole. In addition, every federal prisoner must be required to pass a drug test prior to release and continue to be tested while on probation or parole, and states should be encouraged to adopt similar policies; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the federal government must protect our national security - as is its constitutional mandate - through a major increase in efforts to stop drugs from entering this nation from across federally-controlled borders; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the federal government must assist in efforts to attack drugs being produced within our borders such as methamphetamine; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that increased attention must be provided to emerging drugs such as MDMA (commonly called ecstasy or XTC); and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that increased resources should be provided for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, and additional areas should be designated as appropriate; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that there should continue to be increased cooperation and intelligence sharing among federal law enforcement agencies and with local law enforcement agencies on issues such as training, intelligence, joint operations and technology; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the private-sector should assist in the fight against drugs by enforcing strong drug-free workplace policies, and by making employee assistance programs, including drug treatment, available to workers who acknowledge a drug problem and request help.