National Coalition for Effective Drug Policies
Effective Drug Control Budget
FY 2000 Appropriations Recommendation

April 30, 1999

Honorable Ted Stevens
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510-2203
Honorable Bill Young
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairmen Stevens and Young:

The National Coalition for Effective Drug Policies is a coalition of national organizations dedicated to the development and implementation of federal policies that effectively address drug use and drug abuse. NCEDP is a recently formed coalition of health, religious, women's, civil rights, professional, and drug policy reform advocates who support federal funding priorities that emphasize public health approaches to drug use. We believe that two out of every three drug control dollars should be spent on prevention and rehabilitation. By making this change in budget emphasis, the United States will be able to provide adequate funding for programs that work.

We write to you today regarding the Fiscal Year 2000 budget appropriations. Enclosed is the NCEDP: Effective Drug Control Budget FY 2000 Appropriations Recommendations. In an effort to effectively address the harms of drug abuse and the risk of drug use, NCEDP recommends the following priorities and federal appropriations for FY 2000:

  • Provide sufficient funding to community based organizations and schools for after school programs and alternative activity programs to meet the needs of America's youth within the next five years. Alternative activity programs have been shown to be effective in preventing adolescent drug abuse.

  • Provide sufficient funding to make treatment on request a reality within the next three years. Treatment has been proven to be the most cost-effective way of reducing the drug market and problems associated with drug abuse.

  • Provide sufficient funding to stem the health emergencies of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C. The engine for these epidemics is rooted in the sharing of contaminated syringes. These epidemics do not only threaten drug users they threaten all Americans.

  • Evaluate current drug enforcement spending to ensure the most effective use of resources and provide sufficient funding for alternatives to incarceration for non-violent, low-level drug offenders. This will keep families together and people in their communities. In addition to being less expensive than incarceration such programs are more effective as offenders can be developed into contributing members of American society.

  • Undertake an examination of current drug policies to assess its impact and develop alternatives where necessary. By any objective measure, US drug control policies are failing to prevent the use or significantly reduce the supply of controlled substances. However, there is mounting evidence that the "war on drugs" is undermining constitutional protections and having a disproportionately negative impact on African Americans, the poor, women, and other racial and ethnic minorities.

  • Hold funding for international and domestic drug law enforcement to current levels until their effectiveness can be demonstrated. These programs have seen massive increases in funding over the last two decades without any evidence of success.

  • Establish a blue-ribbon commission to conduct an objective review of the evidence regarding the impact of current federal drug policies and the availability and viability of alternative approaches to address illicit drug use.

Drugs are more available, less expensive and more potent after two decades of intense law enforcement. This failure is not because of the failure of law enforcement to do its job we have seen record seizures, arrests and incarceration but rather due to a failed strategy. It is imperative that the racist effects of law enforcement strategies are eliminated and methods developed to remove the racially disproportionate impact before these programs are expanded.

Problems associated with drugs have worsened in recent years. The facts indicate that our current approach to drugs has failed to significantly reduce either the demand or the availability of drugs. NCEDP is committed to lessening the harms to our society of drug abuse and the risk to individuals of drug use. We would be pleased to provide a delegation of our members to discuss this matter with you.

We also look forward to your written response to our proposals. Please respond to either of the national Chairs of NCEDP: Ms. Rachel King, Legislative Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union, 122 Maryland Ave., SE, Washington, DC 20002 (202) 544-1681 or Mr. Kevin B. Zeese, President, Common Sense for Drug Policy, 3619 Tallwood Terrace, Falls Church, VA 22041 (703) 354-5694.

Members Senate Appropriations Committee
Members House Appropriations Committee

     Signatory organizations

  • Afrikan American Institute for Policy Studies and Planning, Efia Nwangaza, Coordinator
  • AIDS Policy Center for Children, Youth and Families, David C. Harvey, Executive Director
  • American Civil Liberties Union, Rachel King, Legislative Counsel
  • American College of Nurse Midwives, Karen Fennel, Senior Policy Analyst
  • American Medical Student Association, P. Travis Harker, Legislative Affairs Director
  • American Public Health Association, Donna Crane, Director of Congressional Affairs
  • Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, Johanna Chapin, Legislative Associate
  • Campaign for Effective Crime Policy, Beth Carter, National Coordinator
  • Center for Women Policy Studies, Leslie R. Wolfe, President
  • Common Sense for Drug Policy, Kevin B. Zeese, President
  • Correctional Association of New York, Robert Gangi, Executive Director
  • Drug Reform Coordination Network, David Borden, Executive Director
  • DrugSense, Mark Greer, Executive Director
  • Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, Donald M. Topping, President
  • Drug Policy Forum of Texas , G. Alan Robison, Executive Director
  • Drug Policy Foundation, Ruth Lampi, Administrative Director
  • Drug Policy Reform Group of Minnesota, Billie Young, Co-Director
  • Family Council on Drug Awareness, Chris Conrad, Director
  • Family Watch, Kendra E. Wright, Director
  • Efficacy, Margaret Thornton, Executive Director
  • Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health, Barbara Huff, Executive Director
  • General Federation of Women's Clubs, Sarah C. Albert, Director of Public Policy
  • Harm Reduction Coalition, Allan Clear, Executive Director
  • Human Rights and the Drug War, Mikki Norris, Coordinator
  • Institute for Policy Studies, John Cavanagh, Executive Director
  • Justice Policy Institute, Vincent Schiraldi, Director
  • Juvenile Law Center, Marsha Levick, Staff Attorney
  • The Lindesmith Center, Ethan Nadelmann, Director
  • Marijuana Policy Project, Rob Kampia, Executive Director
  • Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse, Sandee Burbank, Director
  • Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, Rick Doblin, President
  • National Alliance of Methadone Advocates, Joycelyn Woods, Executive Vice President
  • National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health, Susan Wjsocki, President
  • National Association of People with AIDS, Terje Anderson, Policy Director
  • National Association for Public Health Policy, Council on Illicit Drugs, David F. Duncan, Chair.
  • National Association of School Psychologists, Libby Kuffner, Director of Public Policy
  • NAACP, Hilary Shelton, Director of Washington Office
  • National Black Women's Health Project, Julia R. Scott, President
  • National Center on Institutions and Alternatives, Jerome Miller, President
  • National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Aracely Panameno, Executive Director
  • National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, R. Keith Stroup, Executive Director
  • National Organization for Women Foundation, Elizabeth Toledo, Vice President Action
  • New Mexico Drug Policy Foundation, Steve Bunch, President
  • North American Syringe Exchange Network, Dave Purchase, Chair
  • November Coalition, Nora Callahan, Director
  • Patients Out of Time, M.L. Mathre, RN, President
  • Prisoner's Legal Services of New York, David Leven, Executive Director
  • Research and Policy Reform Center, Carol A. Bergman, Director of Legislative Affairs
  • Service Employees International Union, AFL-CIO, Madeline Golde, Senior Legislative Advocate
  • St. Ann's Corner of Harm Reduction, Joyce Rivera, Executive Director
  • Unitarian Universalist Association, The Rev. Meg Riley, Director, Washington Office for Faith in Action
  • Volunteers of America, Ronald Field, Executive Director
  • Whitman Walker Clinic, Patricia D. Hawkins, Associate Executive Director
  • Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual, Mary E. Hunt, Co-ordinator
  • YWCA of the USA, Prema Mathai-Davis, CEO

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