Citizens Against Government Waste just released a powerful special report: Up In Smoke: ONDCP’s Wasted Efforts In the War on Drugs, by Angela French.
The report covers the Drug Czar’s agency since its beginning, and the cumulative waste and corruption detailed is astonishing. Check out the introduction:
Established in 1988 to oversee all aspects of America’s war on drugs and to coordinate U.S. domestic and international anti-drug efforts, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has morphed into a federal wasteland, throwing taxpayer money toward numerous high-priced drug control programs that have failed to show results. After 17 years of operation and funding, ONDCP has not achieved its objectives of reducing “illicit drug use, manufacturing, and trafficking, drug-related crime and violence, and drug-related health consequences.”
Instead of curbing America’s drug problem, ONDCP has wasted $4.2 billion since fiscal 1997 on media advertising, fighting state legislation, and deficient anti-drug trafficking programs.
Has morphed into a federal wasteland. Yep.
The report several times notes that the ONDCP has not only been wasteful, but has repeatedly broken federal laws.
Areas discussed in the report include the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign…
One of ONDCP’s cornerstone programs, the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, has been an utter failure. The five-year effort has wasted $2 billion on propaganda with no measurable results.
…along with covert government propaganda efforts uncovered by investigative reporter Daniel Forbes (for those who don’t remember, the ONDCP was bribing TV producers to approve their storylines and messages, including “ER,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Chicago Hope,” “The Drew Carey Show,” and “7th Heaven”)…
… the Anti-Medicinal Marijuana Campaigns…
While ONDCP has failed to reveal the total of these expenditures, it is nonetheless an inappropriate use of federal tax dollars to fly to Nevada on two separate occasions to voice opposition to a state law.
Big Brother also stepped in during the 2004 elections. ONDCP officials visited Vermont to stop its medicinal marijuana bill, even though the law had already passed the state Senate and was on its way to a House committee. Deputy drug czar Scott Burns visited Montana to stop its pot proposition and stood firm that U.S. citizens should “look to experts to tell us what is safe” and “none of them say smoking this weed is medicine.”
The rights of states to regulate medicine is continuously challenged by the federal government, costing taxpayers millions of dollars in court fees.
… and the pork-ridden High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program…
Another ONDCP program that has left the taxpayers high and dry is the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program (HIDTA). Designed chiefly to curb drug trafficking across America’s borders, the program has become a drug prevention funding free-for-all for power-hungry politicians to bring home the bacon to their districts at the taxpayers’ expense, and has decreased drug enforcement in areas where it is critically needed.
Powerful stuff. And an excerpt from the conclusion:
ONDCP was created to coordinate all aspects of America’s war on drugs. Yet, the office has not been successful in its efforts to reduce the presence of illicit drugs in America. Instead, ONDCP burns through tax dollars by funding wasteful and unnecessary projects. Partly to thwart state efforts to regulate marijuana, the drug czar created a $2 billion national anti-drug campaign, produced expensive propaganda ads that failed to reduce drug use among America’s youth, and in the process, violated federal law. Furthermore, the office wastes federal resources by opposing any legalization of marijuana, including medicinal use, which has nothing to do with the war on drugs.
Finally, ONDCP’s HIDTA program is an example of a well-intentioned project going to waste.
Like other recent reports, the Citizens Against Government Waste Report hits the ONDCP big time (and multiple times) for its emphasis on the propaganda campaign against marijuana.
As it should.
This would be a good report to send to your Congressperson.