Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi Demands Attention for Domestic Drug Treatment and Prevention;  Offers Amendment to Colombian Drug War Bill to Fund Needed U.S. Effort
March 28, 1999

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-SF) renewed her efforts Tuesday to fund a balanced U.S. drug treatment program by offering a House floor amendment to the $1.3 billion Colombia Adrug war@ bill.

AI=ve offered my amendment certain that our national illegal drug control strategy must focus on demand reduction as well as supply reduction,@ Pelosi said Tuesday. AIf we fund $1.3 billion for >Plan Colombia= to reduce supply internationally, surely we should find a similar amount for treatment services and prevention programs to reduce demand domestically here in America.@

A Rand Corporation study found that money spent on domestic drug treatment was 23 times more effective than Asource-country@ control, which is the focus of the Administrationís program.

AWhile drug treatment is proven to work, our public treatment systems are out of reach for an estimated 3.6 million people in severe need of substance abuse treatment,@ she said. AFor the total costs of each one of the requested 30 Blackhawk helicopters, we could treat 5,173 substance users or provide prevention services to 111, 494 American children. A

The impact of substance abuse on families, public safety, employment and productivity is deep and well documented. The total cost of substance abuse to society in the United States is staggering at about $246 billion a year. But according to a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) study based on findings from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, every $1 spent on drug abuse prevention will likely save $15 in reduced health, justice and other costs to society.

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