Budget Omits Grants For School Drug Programs

When President Bush asked Congress to stop funding the grants under the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities program, Vice President Joe Biden and 35 other senators protested.When President Bush asked Congress to stop funding the grants under the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities program, Vice President Joe Biden and 35 other senators protested.President Obama’s first budget proposes to end state grants for school drug programs that he and Vice President Biden fought for as senators.

Last year, when President Bush asked Congress to stop funding the grants under the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities program, Obama, Biden and 35 other senators protested. They signed a letter calling it “the backbone of youth drug prevention” that was “making a difference” for 37 million children. They signed similar letters in 2006 and 2007.

Obama’s budget calls the program “poorly designed” and cites a 2001 study by the RAND Drug Policy Research Center that found it “profoundly flawed.”

The grants are too small to be effective, says William Modzeleski, head of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools in the Education Department. More than half the recipients get less than $10,000, he says.

Funding has declined since 2003, when Congress allotted $472 million for the grants. In 2006 and 2007, Bush proposed cutting out the program but Congress allotted $346.5 million each year. Last year, Bush requested $100 million; Congress nearly tripled it to $295 million.

“The inherent flaw in these state grants is it tries to do too much with too little,” Modzeleski says. “It’s not that we don’t need to spend some money on creating safe schools for kids. That’s paramount. That’s critical. But we have to do it in an effective manner.”

Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman, says, “It’s important that we invest in what works and don’t invest in what doesn’t. … The funding is spread too thin.”

The Education Department says a related national program funds proven projects. Obama’s budget would add $102 million to that program for a total of $239 million.

Arthur Dean, CEO of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, says many state programs work, and the federal government hasn’t asked for proof.

His group’s leaders and students from some Virginia and West Virginia schools will deliver petitions supporting the program to Congress Thursday, he says.

“Many of these districts bring their money together to do important things,” Dean says. “Only inside the D.C. Beltway could someone say $10,000 is too little.”

In Wisconsin, 22 small school districts have pooled their money since 1989. They have created an anti-drug website and course for rural schools, trained 1,274 educators in prevention strategies and presented 814 programs for parents, says Jeff Bentz of the Cooperative Educational Service Agency 8 in Gillett, Wis.

“Some small districts can do great things with very little money,” Bentz says. “If the president knows these things work and work well, I think that he’s a reasonable person and will change his mind.”

– Article from USA Today.



  1. TheOracle on

    I have been advising the Administration to legalize cannabis products, and take control of cannabis cultivation in Afghanistan. This move would be used to minimize the problem of opium poppy production, and provide revenues in U.S. dollars from the international distribution and sales of Afghan cannabis products. All cannabis, wherever its origin, would be traded as a commodity in dollars on world stock markets–like crude oil. Profits from cannabis would be used to fund the wars in Afghanistan, and for the construction of a modern infrastructure in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Iran is now in a pincer between U.S. occupied lands, and it is ripe for western democratization from within, without U.S. assets manipulating the election, and thus preventing the islamic fundamentalists from being able to count on support coming in from Afghanistan and Iraq to prop up their unpopular islamic fundamentalist government. After a generation and half of western democracy and western creature comforts, things should begin to stabilize there to western satisfaction. Alternative sources of energy production will reduce the hubris of islamic fundamentalists regarding their attitude of having the West over a barrel because of dependance on their oil. The other revenue would be used for domestic projects to pay down the debt from bailing out Wall Street and other things, pet projects probably, as well as paying for the fundament of the coming green sector of the U.S. and thus world economy. You must keep up the public pressure. Keep the drumbeat going. Once people are stoned-relaxed they will be more in the mood for letting GLBiTr people get married. There is an order to things. The Netherlands had legal cannabis coffeeshops before legal gay marriage, if you look at these two topics and the order they occurred.

    The Beat Goes On by Sonny & Cher

    I serve.

  2. Anne on

    Doesn’t this seem rather odd? Why would they cut funding for drug education? Where are they going to redirect the money? Toward more law enforcement? Or is it part of a national War on Drugs sweep-up?

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I get the feeling that the Obama administration is planning something big, either they’re going to flat-out legalize pot, or they’re going to turn up the heat in the opposite direction. With all the pro-legalization/anti-prohibition talk (by more than 50% of US citizens no less) it seems like we may finally be headed in the right direction. I sure hope so.

    Remember, vote for politicians that support ending prohibition! And contact them to let them know what you think! Your vote really does count!!