Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee voted to approve a Supplemental Appropriations bill which funded $1.3 billion for military and economic assistance to Colombia to reduce the supply of illegal drugs entering the United States. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) offered an amendment to this bill which would fund $1.3 billion for community drug treatment and drug prevention programs to reduce America's demand for drugs. Pelosi said "We need a balanced drug control policy. If America has the resources to fund $1.3 billion for "Plan Colombia" to reduce international supply through military and economic assistance to Colombia, we have the resources to fund at least $1.3 billion for domestic treatment services and prevention programs to help Americans stay off drugs and be productive members of society."
A Rand Corporation report has determined that to reduce cocaine consumption, funds invested in drug treatment are 23 times more effective than source country controls. Pelosi stated, "This amendment is essential to fight our nation's drug crisis and address the needs of 3.6 million Americans who do not get substance abuse treatment." The Pelosi amendment would fund proven treatment services for an additional 303,000 addicted individuals and proven prevention services to approximately 2.4 million youth. It focuses on youth while allowing communities to invest these funds according to local priorities.
Despite America's enormous drug treatment needs, the Republican led House Appropriations Committee, voted 23-31 along party lines to defeat Rep. Pelosi's amendment. No Republicans voted to support drug treatment and prevention. "It is ironic that on the same day Republicans voted to oppose this drug treatment funding because it was too expensive, they cast a separate vote to support an expensive $122 billion tax cut package that gives 73% of its tax breaks to the best-off 1% of America's taxpayers", said Pelosi.
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