National Drug Control and the Budget

National Drug Control and the Budget

Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage. (Spring 2000). "National Drug Control and the Budget." Alaska Justice Forum 17(1): 4-5. Since 1980, the money allocated by the federal government for drug control has grown over 1100 per cent. For FY 2000 the federal government will spend an estimated 18.5 billion dollars on its drug control efforts - about one per cent of the total federal budget. In FY 1981 the drug budget was 1.5 billion dollars, about .2 per cent of the national budget at that time. This article descibes federal drug control spending from FY 1999 through the FY 2001 budget request.

On a national level, the ADAM program discussed in this issue of the Forum cost 1.3 million dollars in 1999. Over the last two decades the money allocated by the federal government for drug control has grown over 1100 per cent. For FY 2000 the federal government will spend an estimated 18.5 billion dollars on its drug control efforts – about one per cent of the total federal budget. In FY 1981 the drug budget was 1.5 billion dollars, about .2 per cent of the national budget at that time.

The overall statement of national drug policy with its application to specific programs is presented in two documents entitled "National Drug Control Strategy" and "Strategic Goals and Objectives of 1999 National Drug Control Strategy." The documents, which are published by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the executive agency bearing responsibility for coordinating the drug control effort within the federal government, present five goals as the underlying structure of the drug war and its appropriation of funds: to educate and enable America's youth to reject illegal drugs as well as alcohol and tobacco; to increase the safety of America's citizens by substantially reducing drug-related crime and violence; to reduce health and social costs to the public of illegal drug use; to shield America's air, land and sea frontiers from the drug threat; and to break foreign and domestic drug sources of supply. These goals subsume seven functions: criminal justice, drug treatment, prevention, interdiction, research, intelligence and international efforts. The tables accompanying this article detail the drug control budget in terms of these goals and functions.

Table 1. Federal Drug Control Spending by Goal and Function, FY 1999-2001

As Tables 1 and 2 show, the criminal justice system receives the largest sub-portion of the money, with the Department of Justice by far the recipient of the greatest amount among the major federal departments, but it is important to recognize that major thrust of the drug control effort is, in essence, directed toward enforcement and almost all of the main federal departments administer some drug-related enforcement program. Considerably more funds go into policing, corrections, interdiction, intelligence and international control efforts than go into treatment and prevention.

Table 2. Federal Drug Spending by Department

For many federal agencies the percentage of the agency budget now devoted to the drug control effort is growing (Table 3). For some agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the U.S. Marshals Service and the National Institutes of Health, the portion of the budget which is drug related is now over fifty per cent.

Table 3. Selected Federal Agencies: Percentages of Budget Related to Drug Control