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Drug Abuse Prevention: Further Efforts Needed to Identify Programs That Work

NCJ Number
Date Published
62 pages
This report discusses Federal efforts in drug abuse prevention and education activities.
The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) was asked to determine (1) how the Federal Government provides leadership and coordination, (2) Federal agencies involved in these activities, (3) how much they were spending and for what types of programs and activities, and (4) how programs and activities are evaluated for effectiveness. The investigation revealed that the Federal role in providing leadership in drug abuse prevention and education has changed over the past 15 years by the passage of a number of laws and executive orders and that 12 departments or agencies spent an average of about $23 million during fiscal years 1984 through 1986 for drug abuse prevention and education activities, including Departments of Education, Defense, and Health and Human Services. Moreover, most prevention and education programs have not contained adequate evaluation components, some have been poorly designed, and others have failed to examine the impact of such programs on drug abuse. Programs geared to disseminating information were shown to have virtually no impact on drug abuse, as was the 'Just Say No' program. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 added a number of requirements for evaluation of programs and activities, which will not be completed for some time. GAO recommendations include Senate adoption of State and local reporting of effectiveness of programs and technical assistance requirements, as well as giving States authority to reduce or terminate funding where progress is not made. 10 tables, 5 figures, and appended data and comments.