Senate Questions Administration's Drug War Strategy

Article excerpt

Democratic and Republican senators alike came down hard on the administration's 1992 drug control policy. According to the National Justice Association, senators complained that the plan overemphasizes spending on law enforcement to the detriment of drug abuse treatment and prevention programs. The $12.7 billion policy was unveiled at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in February.

"The national drug control strategy is an unambitious effort that does not do enough," Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said. "We must emphasize treatment and education more."

Nearly all committee members called for more emphasis on treatment, prevention, and education. Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC) called for increased funding for drug abuse treatment programs targeted at inner city addicts while Sen. Arlen Spector (R-PA) suggested a 50/50 split between funding for law enforcement and international interdiction efforts and funding for prevention and treatment programs.

According to the 1992 National Drug Control Strategy, under the administration's proposed budget, 68 percent of the funds would be devoted to domestic law enforcement or international operations and border control and 32 percent would be targeted for prevention and treatment.

"This is not the picture of a nation winning the drug war," said Sen. Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE), committee chairman. "Indeed, it is not even the picture of a nation waging a good fight. …