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May 16, 1990

Substance Abuse

JAMA. 1990;263(19):2682-2683. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440190138075

During the past year, there has been increased public intolerance of problems associated with alcohol and illicit drug use. On the federal level, the response is to wage a "war on drugs," coordinated by Edward Bennett in the new cabinetlevel position of director, Office of National Drug Control Policy. The first major task of this office was to generate a report in September 1989 that described the directions to be taken in drug control policy during the next decade. Although Bennett's goal to reduce the number of illicit drug users by 50% is admirable, the means by which this goal is to be achieved is primarily through law enforcement. Of the fiscal year 1990 $8.8 billion budget targeted for drug control, nearly 40% of the appropriated funds will go toward enhancing law-enforcement efforts, 20% to building more correctional facilities, 15% to the development of new prevention and education programs, and