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October 6, 1989

Redeclared War on Illegal Drugs: Most Agree With Intent, but How?

JAMA. 1989;262(13):1741. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430130009002

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THE REDECLARED WAR against illegal drugs now is 1 month old (JAMA. 1989;262:1574) and much of the fighting at this point is infighting by those—in and out of government—on the same side.

William Bennett, PhD, the Bush Administration's point man, has laid out a strategy that calls for spending approximately $7.9 billion on anti-drug-abuse programs, including treatment, education, law enforcement, and interdiction. This would be a 118% increase in current levels of federal spending.

For example, there would be a 53% increase—from $604 million to $925 million—for treatment programs. There would be a 25% increase—from $943 million to $1.2 billion—for education and prevention. And there would be increases for prison construction (the goal is 95 000 more federal prison beds, including some so-called boot camp facilities) — from $734 million to $1.6 billion — and for state and local law enforcement agencies (although matching funds would be required)—from $150 million