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Controlling Drug Abuse: A Status Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
45 pages
This report presents an overview of the Nation's drug problem and the Federal response to it and summarizes key conclusions and recommendations from past General Accounting Office studies.
Nationwide data were obtained from Federal organizations involved in drug control, and views on the drug problem were obtained from law enforcement and health officials in six U.S. cities: Washington, D.C.; New York City; Chicago; Los Angeles; and San Francisco. Information covers significant trends since 1980 in drug abuse, availability, trafficking, and production; Federal drug supply and demand reduction efforts; and the costs of the Federal efforts. Data are broken down by types and classes of drugs, namely, cocaine; heroin; marijuana; and 'dangerous drugs' such as amphetamine, methamphetamine, methaqualone, PCP, and LSD. Data indicate that the supply and demand for illegal drugs persist nationwide and continue to affect American society adversely, despite significant increases in Federal antidrug efforts. The six cities examined reflected national trends in the availability of major drugs, but problems in each city involving particular drugs, drug forms, and methods of drug ingestion were often distinctive to each city. Federal supply-reduction efforts encompass international drug control, interdiction and border control, investigation and prosecution, intelligence activities, and diversion control. Demand reduction includes drug abuse prevention and treatment. The report concludes that measures of program effectiveness are needed, organizational changes have not resolved interagency conflicts, and organizational changes alone are insufficient to achieve stronger leadership and more centralized oversight of Federal antidrug policy. 16 figures and 5 tables.