Drug Abuse Research:

Federal Funding and Future Needs

T-PEMD-91-14: Published: Sep 25, 1991. Publicly Released: Sep 25, 1991.

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GAO discussed federally funded drug abuse research, focusing on funding trends at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) for research on the causes, prevention, and treatment of drug abuse. GAO noted that: (1) between fiscal years 1987 through 1990, both agencies dramatically increased funding for extramural drug abuse research grants; (2) the growth in drug abuse research funding contrasted with a general pattern of decline in federal support in the last decade for federally supported nondefense research and development; (3) since 1989, research constituted only 3 to 4 percent of the overall spending included in the national drug control budget; (4) at both agencies, causality research constituted less that 3 percent of their drug research spending in 1990 or 0.10 percent of their total drug control budget for that year; (5) the researchers and research users reviewed agreed on the importance of further research on psychological and social environmental factors that lead to drug abuse; (6) in 1990, prevention and treatment research at NIDA increased, while the same research decreased at OJP; (7) the study of basic causes, prevention, and treatment of drug abuse accounted for half of NIDA research support in 1990; and (8) NIDA increasingly funds research using social scientific methods.

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