Reported Federal Drug Abuse Expenditures--Fiscal Years 1981 to 1985

GGD-85-61: Published: Jun 3, 1985. Publicly Released: Jul 3, 1985.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO determined: (1) whether drug abuse budget expenditures for fiscal years (FY) 1981 through 1985 accurately reflected what each federal agency spent on drug-related expenditures; (2) the criteria federal agencies used in reporting such expenditures; and (3) the real increase or decrease in the expenditures after inflation, as well as the reasons for the change.

GAO found that the summary prepared by the White House Drug Abuse Policy Office fairly represented the overall level of outlays by federal agencies involved in drug abuse programs; however, the Office failed to establish specific criteria for agencies to follow in allocating the expenditures and documenting reported outlays. GAO found that: (1) total federal outlays for drug abuse programs increased more than 40 percent; (2) 78 percent of the FY 1985 outlay will go to drug law enforcement and 22 percent will go to drug abuse prevention and treatment programs; (3) grants for drug abuse prevention and treatment decreased about 16 percent; and (4) expenditures for law enforcement programs exceeded the rate of inflation by 51 percent. GAO found that increases in drug law enforcement outlays have been primarily due to internal reprogramming by the agencies and new funding for other agencies. Due to the consolidation of categorical grants into a block grant program, funding for treatment and prevention was reduced to reflect savings in federal overhead. The block grant program gives the states more discretion in how funds will be spent and broader administrative responsibilities. GAO found that inclusion of the block grant program in the federal drug abuse budget would more accurately reflect the amount of drug abuse expenditures, but that states do not report drug abuse program expenditures funded by the block grant program.

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