Drug Abuse Prevention:

Further Efforts Needed To Identify Programs That Work

HRD-88-26: Published: Dec 4, 1987. Publicly Released: Feb 3, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed federal drug abuse prevention and education activities to determine: (1) how the federal government provides leadership and coordination; (2) which federal agencies are involved in these activities; (3) the amount each agency is spending and for what types of programs; and (4) how the federal government evaluates the programs.

GAO found that: (1) 12 departments or agencies spent an average of $23 million during fiscal years 1984 through 1986 for drug abuse prevention and education, with the Departments of Education, Defense, Health and Human Services, and ACTION making most of the expenditures; (2) since 1970, federal leadership in drug abuse prevention and education has expanded and reached its highest level with the passage of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986; (3) most prevention and education programs had inadequate evaluation methods which failed to examine the impact of the programs on drug abuse; (4) although the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 contained program evaluation requirements, since agencies have not implemented them, evaluations will not be available to help states and localities decide how to use funding under the act; and (5) most states do not collect information on drug abuse prevention or monitor school-based drug abuse education programs.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Senate adopted state and local reporting and technical assistance requirements comparable to those included in H.R. 5, as recommended. Authority to terminate funding was not granted.

    Matter: The Senate should adopt state and local reporting and technical assistance requirements, comparable to those included in H.R. 5. Congress should provide states with the authority to reduce or terminate funding in those cases where reasonable progress is not being made following the provision of such assistance.


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