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Dear Mr. Leader

Barry McCaffrey's letter to Newt Gingrich regarding HR 2610

October 29, 1997

Dear Mr. Leader:

Thank you for your consideration of H.R. 2610 to reauthorize ONDCP. While the Administration strongly supports reauthorization of ONDCP, we have grave reservations about H.R. 2610 in its present form. The attached Statement of Administration Policy provides full details; the purpose of this letter is to highlight those of greatest importance.

First and foremost, we must construct a realistic roadmap to victory. ONDCP and the federal drug-control agencies have been working diligently to develop a performance measurement system that will lay out targets and measures designed to take the U.S. to historical low levels of drug use (as measured by official government data) within the next ten years. This performance measurement system already reflects thousands of hours of analysis. We are developing a final plan which will establish numerical targets that are both ambitious and achievable. The final plan will take into account known obstacles, such as the two- to three-year lag between noticeable changes in attitudes towards drugs and noticeable changes in behavior, and the time needed to hire and train law-enforcement, drug-treatment, and drug-prevention personnel. We believe the unrealistic targets set forth in H.R. 2610 could hurt our efforts against drug use when the public, seeing the inevitable failure to meet these goals, becomes convinced the effort is lost.

Second, the two-year reauthorization is an inadequate commitment to the national drug control strategy. A two year period does not provide adequate time to implement the ten-year plan supported by five-year budgets outlined in the 1997 National Drug Control Strategy. Nor is it of sufficient duration to allow ONDCP to compile data and evaluate the effectiveness of drug control programs through the performance measurement system we are developing. Finally, our ability to coordinate the efforts of federal agencies responsible for implementing the Strategy depends, in part, on ONDCP's long-term viability.

We appreciate your consideration and look forward to working with you to achieve a reauthorization bill that all of us can embrace.


Barry R. McCaffrey,

Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy.

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