The Need for Strong Central Oversight of the Federal Government's War on Drugs

T-GGD-87-17: Published: May 14, 1987. Publicly Released: May 14, 1987.

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GAO discussed the need for strong central oversight of federal antidrug efforts. GAO noted that: (1) despite the dramatic increase in drug seizures, there was no decrease in the availability of illegal drugs; (2) obstacles such as differing priorities, interagency rivalries, conflicts, and jurisdictional disputes affected drug abuse control efforts; and (3) a variety of changes in drug strategy, policy, and law enforcement agency structures reduced the diversity of efforts. To promote centralized oversight of federal drug enforcement efforts, GAO recommended that the President: (1) direct the development of a more definitive federal drug strategy that would stipulate the roles of various agencies; and (2) delegate responsibility to one individual to oversee federal drug enforcement programs. GAO found that: (1) the National Drug Enforcement Policy Board was created to coordinate federal drug enforcement policy and operations; (2) the Board does not have the authority to direct action and, therefore, has to rely on interagency cooperation to provide central direction to drug enforcement efforts; and (3) the new Board intends to provide policy for all federal antidrug responsibilities, including drug prevention, education, and treatment programs.

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