Q: What is the ONDCP, and what does it do?
A: The ONDCP is the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. The ONDCP was established through the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, to develop policy priorities and objectives regarding the fight against illegal drugs. The Director of the ONDCP advises the President on issues that may affect anti-drug efforts and on agency compliance with the administration's strategy. One of the primary missions of the ONDCP is to reduce illegal drug use, manufacturing and trafficking, as well as drug related crime, injuries and deaths through the production of the National Drug Control Strategy. This strategy establishes action items for coordination among international, federal, state, and local entities in the fight against illegal drugs.
Q: How is the ONDCP currently pursuing its goals, and what have you done to prevent the spread of illegal drug use?
A: The administration's current strategy places emphasis on addiction treatment and educational programs. The ONDCP says its goal with this approach is to reduce the rate of youth drug use by 15 percent over five years. While the administration's strategy calls for strengthening the Drug Free Communities Grant program, the President's fiscal 2011 budget proposes to cut the program by nearly $10 million. The 2011 budget also proposes to reduce the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, which enhances and coordinates drug control efforts among local, State, and Federal law enforcement agencies and has been considered a success in helping to get drugs off the streets.
I believe a greater emphasis must be placed on getting drugs off the streets through law enforcement actions and preventing drug use before it starts. To accomplish this goal, I cosponsored the Methamphetamine Production Prevention Act, which became law in 2008, and which allows pharmacies to track the sale of meth precursor chemicals through the use of electronic logbooks. This law also allows law enforcement officials quick access to information that can help them stop the manufacture of meth. I also was an original sponsor of the Drug Free Communities (DFC) Grant Program which is one of the main drug prevention programs in the country today. Because I want to strengthen the DFC Program, I'm a cosponsor of the Drug Free Communities Enhancement Act, which will allow supplemental grants to communities that are experiencing an emerging drug threat or local drug crisis. This legislation recently passed out of the Judiciary Committee and is awaiting action on the Senate floor. Additionally, I'm a cosponsor of the Saving Kids From Dangerous Drugs Act, which will double the prison sentence for drug dealers who manufacture or alter drugs in a way that could make them more appealing to children.
Q: What do you like about the administration's current strategy?
A: The strategy calls for an increase in education and awareness to reduce the amount of prescription narcotics in the home, as well as crack down on illegal internet pharmacies and doctors who are illegally prescribing narcotics. The strategy specifically calls for an increase in prescription drug disposal and take-back programs to reduce the amount of drugs in the family medicine cabinet since the most likely source for children obtaining prescription drugs is in the home. I'm a co-sponsor of S.1292, The Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act, which would assist in the establishment of prescription drug take-back programs.