Clinton’s Anti-Drug Budget Is Just Old Wine In New Bottles

The Ethnic NewsWatch
Philadelphia Tribune, The

March 11, 1994

SECTION: Vol. 111; No. 26; Pg. 6-A

ETHNIC-GROUP: African-American


LENGTH: 441 words

LOAD-DATE-MDX: June 13, 1994

HEADLINE: Clinton’s Anti-Drug Budget Is Just Old Wine In New Bottles

BODY: Clinton’s Anti-Drug Budget Is Just Old Wine In New Bottles.

The Clinton Administration’s bold step of reevaluating the federal government’s posture on the War On Drugs appears to be old wine in new bottles.

The Administration’s supplemental budget request includes $400 million for drug treatment and $400 million for drug prevention.

However, the $400 million prevention budget includes $270 million for extra beat cops.

Beat cops may be good for traditional enforcement but they are not exactly the traditional forms of workplace and school drug prevention programing that has been sorely lacking in the War On Drugs. A cynic could contend that Clinton’s supplemental budget request — where cash for beat cops is stashed inside the prevention funding — is a Trojan Horse for the same old line of law enforcement as the primary antidrug weapon.

Given the well documented fact of the failure of law enforcement to adequately curb hard-core drug addiction, which is the cause of most drug crime, it should be clear that another approach is needed. One promising path is the development of medicines to attack addiction.

Yet only a tiny fraction of the $13 billion Drug War budget is devoted to developing medicines to attack addiction. The $22 million earmarked for the development of anti-addiction medicines is a proverbial “drop in the bucket.” One substance showing success in treating drug addiction is ibogaine. Ibogaine is derived from the roots of a shrub native to equatorial Africa and has been used in Africa for centuries during sacred rituals and for remaining alert during long hunting expeditions.

Ibogane, in tests in other countries, has cured addiction to heroin, cocaine, methadone and nicotine. Ibogaine, according to a recent article in the science magazine Omni, is the “closest thing anyone’s seen to a bona fide cure for drug and alcohol addiction.”

The U.S. Federal Drug Administration is now conducting limited tests on ibogaine but these efforts and other efforts to develop anti-addiction medications are suffering through underfunding. This underfunding continues in part because influential organizations, like the PRIDE group, which recently held an international conference at the Convention Center, continue to push prisons as the primary response to drug addiction.

If addicts are a big part of the “drug problem” then something effective must be found to address addiction. Law enforcement has proven ineffective. Maybe medicinal substances like ibogaine could be more effective … at least they would be less expensive than building fences around South Florida to keep drug smugglers out.

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