Office of National Drug Control Policy: Progress toward Some National Drug Control Strategy Goals, but None Have Been Fully Achieved

GAO-16-660T Published: May 17, 2016. Publicly Released: May 17, 2016.
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What GAO Found

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and federal agencies have made mixed progress toward achieving the goals articulated in the 2010 National Drug Control Strategy (Strategy) and ONDCP has established a mechanism to monitor and assess progress. In the Strategy, ONDCP established seven goals related to reducing illicit drug use and its consequences by 2015. As of May 2016, our analysis indicates that ONDCP and federal agencies have made moderate progress toward achieving one goal, limited progress on three goals, and no progress on the three other three goals. Overall, none of the goals in the Strategy have been fully achieved. In March 2013, GAO reported that ONDCP established the Performance Reporting System to monitor and assess progress toward meeting Strategy goals and objectives. GAO reported that the system's 26 new performance measures were generally consistent with attributes of effective performance management. A 2015 ONDCP report on progress towards these measures similarly identified some progress towards overall achievements—some of the measures had met or exceeded targets, some had significant progress underway, and some had limited or no progress.

Federal drug control spending increased from $21.7 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2007 to approximately $30.6 billion in allocated funding in FY 2016 as shown in figure 1. Although total federal drug control spending increased from FY 2007 through FY 2016, spending on supply reduction programs, such as domestic law enforcement, interdiction, and international programs remained relatively constant at $13.3 billion in FY 2007 and $15.8 billion allocated in FY 2016. However, federal spending for—treatment and prevention has steadily increased from FY 2007 through FY 2016 and spending in these two programs went from $8.4 billion in FY 2007 to $14.7 billion allocated in FY 2016.

Figure 1: Federal Drug Control Spending for Fiscal Years 2007 through 2016

Figure 1: Federal Drug Control Spending for Fiscal Years 2007 through 2016

Why GAO Did This Study

Policymakers, health care providers, and the public are concerned about the nation's current drug epidemic and its effects, as drug overdose deaths surpassed auto accidents as the leading cause of death or injury in recent years. To help address national drug control policy efforts, ONDCP coordinates and oversees implementation of a National Drug Control Strategy to reduce illicit drug use, among other things.

This statement addresses (1) what progress has been made toward achieving National Drug Control Strategy goals and how ONDCP monitors progress and (2) trends in federal drug control spending.

This statement is based upon findings GAO reported in March 2013 and December 2015, analysis of ONDCP's Budget and Performance Summaries and selected updates in 2016. For the updates, GAO analyzed publically available data sources that ONDCP uses to assess progress on Strategy goals, reviewed ONDCP Performance Reporting System reports, and interviewed ONDCP officials.

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GAO made a prior recommendation to ONDCP to assess overlap in drug prevention and treatment programs. ONDCP concurred and has implemented it. GAO is not making new recommendations in this testimony.


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