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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, DC, November 30, 1990. Hon. THOMAS S. FOLEY, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
DEAR MR. SPEAKER: By direction of the Committee on Government Operations, I submit herewith the committee's thirty-ninth report to the 101st Congress. The committee's report is based on a study made by its Legislation and National Security Subcommittee.
JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Chairman.
McCandless, Hon. Howard C. Nielson, Hon. Richard K. Armey, Hon. J.
Dennis Hastert, Hon. John L. Kyl, Hon. Peter Smith, Hon. Steven Schiff,
Hon. Chuck Douglas, and Hon. C. Christopher Cox..
Additional views of Hon. Ted Weiss......
Additional views of Hon. Edolphus Towns.......
The Committee on Government Operations has primary oversight jurisdiction of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. In this capacity, the Subcommittee on Legislation and National Security has held a comprehensive series of hearings on the National Drug Control Strategy to determine the relationship among, and effectiveness of, federal, state and local entities involved in the war against substance abuse, and to provide the committee with information that would enable the creation of effective national drug policy.
This report addresses substance abuse prevention and treatment which comprise the demand reduction facets of national drug policy. According to the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD), it is conservatively estimated that of the 6.5 million serious drug abusers in the United States, only 834,000 (12.83 percent) are receiving treatment, even though we know that treatment works and the investment in treatment services is cost effective. For every $1 spent on treatment, $11.54 is saved in social service costs. 1
In 1984 the Research Triangle Institute estimated the total national economic cost of substance abuse was $176 billion in Fiscal Year 1983.2 NASADAD estimated that the allocation of resources for prevention and treatment for the same year was only $1.3 billion. The Committee is outraged that less than one percent of the economic cost of substance abuse has been allocated to address the problem. Although high priority has been placed on the war to fight drugs, the emphasis on law enforcement mirrors decades of failed drug policies. There is no reason to think that the current drug strategy, which allocates less than 30 percent of the budget for treatment and prevention efforts, will have different results. The President's budget request for Fiscal Year 1991 for demand reduction efforts is approximately 27 percent of the total strategy, an even smaller percentage than the 30 percent allocated in Fiscal Year 1990.
But the problem of providing treatment and prevention programs in the United States today is not solely a problem of funding. Whereas increased funds are necessary, it is critical that existing funds be reprioritized to better meet the need. There are significant gaps in the treatment that is available, primarily for pregnant women and those who are unable to pay. Similarly, the prevention programming that is available is frequently inappropriate
1 National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, “Treatment Works: The Tragic Cost of Undervaluing Treatment in the 'Drug War'.” (Washington, D.C.: NASADAD, 1990), p. 24.
2 Robert L. Hubbard et al., “Drug Abuse Treatment: A National Study of Effectiveness” (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989).