Administration Releases 1999 National Drug Control Strategy Stopping Drug Use by Prisoners and Parolees a Top Priority
By Ed Somers
On February 8, Vice President Al Gore and General Barry McCaffrey, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, released the 1999 National Drug Control Strategy which addresses several top concerns of the nation's mayors in relation to drug control.
As stated in the Strategy, the President's FY 2000 Budget would increase overall drug control funding by 4 percent, from $17 billion to $17.8 billion.
In his message forwarding the Strategy to Congress, President Clinton outlined the five main goals reflected in the document:
1) educating children through the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, the Safe and Drug Free Schools Program, and other efforts to continue to focus on helping youth reject drugs;
2) decreasing the addicted population by helping to close the "treatment gap";
3) breaking the cycle of drugs and crime through the Zero Tolerance Drug Supervision initiative to help state and local governments implement tough new systems to drug test, treat and punish prisoners, parolees, and probationers;
4) securing the borders to reduce the flow of drugs into the country; and
5) reducing the supply of drugs including both domestic and overseas production.
Stopping Drug Use by Prisoners and Parolees
The U.S. Conference of Mayors has strongly advocated for a new focus on the need to reduce the availability of drugs in prisons, increase treatment for prisoners, and require that prisoners pass a drug test prior to release.
Mayor Jeff Griffin of Reno, Chair of the Criminal and Social Justice Committee, and Mayors Scott King of Gary and H. Brent Coles of Boise, Co-Chairs of the Drug Control Task Force, have taken the lead on this effort. Mayors Griffin and King both met with Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder in the Fall of 1998 advocating a bold new step on this priority.
The new Zero Tolerance Drug Supervision initiative contained in the Strategy would provide $215 million to promote drug testing and treatment. Of this total, $100 million would establish a Drug Testing and Treatment Program that would provide discretionary grants to states and local governments to implement comprehensive drug testing policies for prisoners and parolees. The Conference has called for all prisoners to pass a drug test prior to release. Also included under this proposal is $50 million for drug courts and $65 million for residential drug treatment for prisoners with the most serious drug problems.
In addition, the Strategy would expand the Drug-Free Prison Zone Demonstration Project, as reflected by $120 million in the FY 2000 Budget to ensure that states fully implement their comprehensive plans for prison drug testing, treatment and sanctions.
Mayor Griffin joined President Clinton on January 5 to announce these new federal efforts and said, "Drug addicted prisoners are being released into cities around the nation and then it becomes the job of the mayors and police chiefs to keep the streets of our cities safe. The President's announcement today is a substantial step in the right direction."
Increased Support for Local Drug Treatment
Also reflected in the Strategy is the Administration's support for a doubling of the Targeted Capacity Expansion program to $110 million in FY 2000. The program was created through the work of mayors and the Department of Health and Human Services to increase funding for treatment directly available to cities/local governments.
Continuing the Fight Against Methamphetamine
As stated in Goal #5, the Strategy also continues to focus on the domestic production on drugs such as methamphetamine. This growing problem is reflected by the seizure of 4,140 methamphetamine laboratories throughout the country by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) between January 1, 1994 and September 30, 1998. In the first nine months of 1998 alone, 1,240 labs were seized by the DEA, not to mention thousands closed by state and local authorities.