Section 1005 of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, as amended, requires the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to consult a wide array of experts and officials, including heads of the national drug control program agencies, the Congress, state and local officials, and members of the private sector as the National Drug Control Strategy is being developed. ONDCP met the full intent of this congressional requirement during the development of this 1997 Strategy in the following ways:
By Consulting with Leaders Across the Nation. The perspectives and suggestions of leaders in both the public and private sectors were enormously helpful in the development of the 1997 National Drug Control Strategy.
- Governmental Consultation. Within the executive branch of the federal government, every cabinet officer and all departments and agencies participated in the development of strategic goals and objectives and in the formulation of supporting budgets, initiatives, and programs. Similarly, within the legislative branch, views and suggestions were solicited from every senator and representative and from their supporting staffs. At the state and local levels, ONDCP solicited input from each state governor along with those from American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and from the mayors of every city with more than 100,000 people. Views from public officials overseeing federal, state, and local prevention, education, treatment, law enforcement, correctional, and interdiction activities were also solicited.
- Private Sector Consultation. Suggestions were also solicited and received from: representatives of the more than 4,300 community anti-drug coalitions; chambers of commerce; editorial boards; non-governmental organizations; professional organizations (i.e. actors' guilds, bar associations, business associations, educational groups, law enforcement and correctional associations, medical associations, unions, and others); religious institutions; and private citizens including chronic drug users, inmates, parents, police officers, prevention specialists, recovered addicts, students, teachers, treatment providers, and victims of drug-related crimes. The ONDCP Director also joined senators and representatives in their states and districts to learn more about the drug problem and observe solutions. The interest displayed by all and the thousands of unsolicited letters received at ONDCP underscored that a majority of Americans believe that drug use and drug-related crime are among our nation's most pressing social problems.
By Consulting with the Congress. Representatives from the Office of National Drug Control Policy testified at thirteen formal congressional hearings in 1996. Topics included: drug policy priorities; the federal drug control budget; international drug control programs; drug trafficking in the Western hemisphere; preventing drug trafficking across the southwest border; juvenile drug use trends; drug interdiction efforts; the global heroin threat; making cocaine less available; and Arizona's Proposition 200 and California's Proposition 215. Additionally, senators and representatives were briefed privately by the ONDCP Director and other officials of the executive branch while the work of their staffs was supported by all national drug control program agencies.
By Keeping the American People Informed. ONDCP supported the anti-drug efforts of every national television network and numerous local television and radio organizations in 1996; more than 200 exclusive interviews were conducted. Detailed briefings were provided to the editorial boards of twenty-two newspapers and magazines. Spanish-language materials were generated for media organizations that serve Hispanic-Americans. A web site (www.ncjrs.org) and toll free telephone service (1-800-666-3332) staffed by drug policy information specialists provide drug-related data, perform customized bibliographic searches, advise requesters on data availability and of other information services, and maintain a public reading room. In addition, ONDCP maintains a "homepage" that provides up-to-date information about the Office of National Drug Control Policy and drug policy issues.
By Building Support for the U.S.'s International Drug Control Programs. Leaders from key drug production and trafficking nations were briefed on the international components of the National Drug Control Strategy. Support for U.S. drug control efforts was also developed among important international and multilateral organizations such as the Association of Asian States, the European Union, the Organization of American States, and the International Commission of the Red Cross.
By Convening or Participating in Conferences and Meetings. ONDCP briefed participants in numerous gatherings of organizations like: the National Governors' Association, the Conference of Mayors, the American Bar Association, and the National Association of Police Officers. Additionally, ONDCP convened or participated in the following conferences and meetings to promote greater coordination of international, federal, state, and local anti-drug efforts; consider emerging problems; and consult experts as the 1997 Strategy was being developed.
- The President's Drug Policy Council. Established by the President in March 1996, this cabinet-level organization met on May 28, 1996 and December 12, 1996 to assess the direction of the National Drug Control Strategy and discuss drug policy initiatives. Members of the council include heads of drug control program agencies and key presidential assistants.
- Southwest Border Conference. El Paso, Texas, July 9-10, 1996. Federal, state, and local representatives met to discuss the challenge of stopping drug trafficking across the two-thousand mile-long U.S.-Mexico border.
- High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Conference. Washington, D.C., July 15-16, 1996. Participants considered how the congressionally-mandated HIDTA program can better coordinate regional law enforcement efforts.
- The USIC/J-3 Counterdrug Quarterly Conference. Washington, D.C. These meetings provided a forum for executive-level discussions of U.S. international drug interdiction programs.
- California Proposition 215/Arizona Proposition 200 Briefing. Washington, D.C., November 14, 1996. State, local, and community leaders briefed federal department and agency representatives on the recently-passed ballot initiatives as the federal response to both measures was being formulated.
- Entertainment Industry. Hollywood, California, January 9-10, 1997. The ONDCP Director met with leaders in the entertainment industry to discuss how the national drug prevention effort might be supported by the creative talents of the broadcast, film, and music industries.
- Methamphetamine Conference. San Francisco, California, January 10, 1997. The purpose of this regional meeting was to examine the growing methamphetamine problem in western states, review progress made since the April 1996 release of the National Methamphetamine Strategy, and consider appropriate responses. A follow-on national methamphetamine conference is scheduled for May 1997 in Omaha, Nebraska.