Review of Selected Narcotics Enforcement Research and Demonstration Projects

GGD-78-9: Published: Dec 14, 1977. Publicly Released: Dec 14, 1977.

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Federal narcotics enforcement agencies use science and technology to improve and augment narcotics enforcement. Of 18 narcotics enforcement research and development projects reviewed, 9 were selected by the Office of Science and Technology (OST) in the Executive Office of the President, 4 by the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD), and 2 by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The remaining 3 were selected by the OST at the request of the BNDD.

The unavailability of records limited the evaluation of the project selection process. All but 1 of primary contracts for the 18 projects were awarded on a sole-source basis. A test of subsequent contracts awarded by DEA showed that it was making greater use of competitive procurements. GAO was unable to determine how $402,000 provided for 20 additional positions in the 1973 supplemental appropriation was spent. The use of research and development funds to support certain projects appeared questionable. It was not possible to determine the total expenditures for individual projects. Ten of the projects produced either information or equipment that was used in Federal narcotics enforcement efforts or led to further research. For the remaining eight projects, the research failed to achieve its objective, produced results too costly to implement, or produced results which were not used because they were not related to the agency's mission. One limit on the use made of research and development project results may have been the lack of a formal policy of technology transfer among Federal agencies, a matter currently under consideration.

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