Drug Czar Lauds Phony Anti-Drug Budget Numbers To Congress

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by RMJL, Mar 7, 2003.

  1. Drug Czar Lauds Phony Anti-Drug Budget Numbers To Congress

    March 6, 2003 - Washington, DC, USA

    Washington, DC: United States Drug Czar John Walters told Congress that the White House is employing a "balanced strategy" of drug education, treatment, and interdiction, and called for increased student drug testing, at a reauthorization hearing yesterday before the House Committee on Government Reform, Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources.

    As expected, Walters presented newly revised federal anti-drug budget totals that downplay the actual amount of money the federal government spends enforcing drug laws, and inflate the dollars spent on drug education and treatment. According to the White House, all costs associated with the "secondary consequences of the government's primary drug law enforcement and investigative activities" are no longer included in federal anti-drug budget tabulations. As a result of this restructuring, more than two-thirds of the federal agencies included in past years' budgets including INTERPOL, the US Marshall's Service, and the US Attorneys Office are missing from this year's financial totals.

    In addition, an analysis by Common Sense for Drug Policy and the Drug Policy Alliance reports that this year's budget inflates the total the federal government will spend on drug treatment programs by including funding for alcohol treatment, "which by law is specifically excluded from their scope of responsibilities."

    NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said that despite Walters' assertions, the White House is still focusing far more resources arresting and jailing drug users than on drug treatment and education programs. "By hiding many of the known costs of the drug war, such as the incarceration of drug offenders, the Feds are trying to present the image of a kinder, gentler and more fiscally responsible drug war," said St. Pierre. "Unfortunately, even Walters' phony books can't hide the fact that this, Administration's war on drugs is more expensive and punitive than any other in history."

    Walters also called for expanding the use of student drug testing at yesterday's hearing. Last year, the Supreme Court approved 5 to 4 an Oklahoma school district's policy mandating drug testing for all students who wish to participate in extracurricular activities, including the chess club, the Honor Society and the marching band.

    This year's federal anti-drug budget includes funding for schools who wish to implement student drug testing, and by 2004 the White House is expected to spend more than $8 million on teen drug testing programs.

    For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751.


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