Developing a Federal Drug Budget:

Implementing the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988

GGD-90-104: Published: Aug 23, 1990. Publicly Released: Sep 25, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined: (1) the evolution of the process used to formulate federal drug budgets for fiscal years (FY) 1989 through 1992; and (2) how the executive branch tracks and monitors the obligation and expenditure of federal drug program funds.

GAO found that: (1) for FY 1981 through 1989, Congress did not legislatively require the preparation of an annual drug budget, but the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) provided the executive branch and congressional agencies with a summary of the drug budgets of federal agencies and departments; (2) Congress mandated in the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 that the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) prepare an annual federal budget and outlined a drug budget formulation process, coordinated with the preparation of the President's annual budget request; (3) in January 1990, ONDCP released the first legislatively mandated comprehensive federal drug budget; (4) ONDCP continues to refine budget guidelines and expects that it could take 2 to 3 years until the process runs smoothly; (5) while the mandated drug budget process increased the information available for monitoring and tracking drug program funding, agencies generally could not precisely track or monitor drug budget, obligation, and expenditure data, since drug programs were generally combined with other programs in an appropriation account; and (6) several agencies, ONDCP, and OMB voiced concern over loss of flexibility and the resources that would be required in establishing a separate appropriation account, and preferred to devote more time to program evaluation.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: ONDCP concurred with the thrust of the recommendation, but indicated in a letter to Congress that it was already undertaking steps it felt were appropriate.

    Recommendation: The Director, ONDCP, should make sure that, in its current efforts to improve the drug budget process, sufficient emphasis is given to improving the government's capacity to identify and track drug expenditure data.

    Agency Affected: Office of National Drug Control Policy

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: ONDCP concurred with the thrust of the recommendation, but indicated in a letter to Congress that it was already undertaking steps it felt were appropriate.

    Recommendation: The Director, ONDCP, should encourage agencies with drug programs to explore options that will provide better data with which to evaluate the effectiveness of their drug program expenditures.

    Agency Affected: Office of National Drug Control Policy

 

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