Office of National Drug Control Policy
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) was established in 1988 by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, making it a component of the Executive Office of the President of the United States. The bill proposing the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, sponsored by Representatives Robert Michel (IL) and Thomas Foley (WA) in August 1988, intended “to prevent the manufacturing, distribution, and use of illegal drugs, and for other purposes” and gained immense bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.
President Ronald Reagan signed the bill into effect in November of 1988, forming the ONDCP according to the Title I provisions of the Act, and enacting its five-year executive status as a National Drug Control Program (1989–1993). The office held cabinet-level status in the Executive Office from 1993 to 2009 during the Clinton and W. Bush administrations. On May 7, 2009, R. Gil Kerlikowske—the Chief of Police of the Seattle Police Department and former deputy director for the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association—was sworn in as Director of the ONDCP. Under President Obama’s administration, Mr. Kerlikowske’s position does not hold cabinet-level status as his predecessors did, but does have direct contact with the president and vice president. Kerlikowske, the sixth “Drug Czar” to serve the ONDCP, is the direct advisor to the president on national and international drug policy and control and coordinator for the President’s National Drug Control Strategy.
The ONDCP’s stated mission is to “establish policies, priorities, and objectives for the nation’s drug control program” with the goals of reducing illicit drug use, manufacturing, and trafficking; drug-related crime and violence; and drug-related health consequences both domestically and globally. One of Kerlikowske’s major objectives during his term is to form a more effective strategy for securing the U.S.’s southwest border while preventing drug trafficking and violence out of Mexico. The Obama administration has proposed an increase in funds for the eradication of drug use and its consequences for the 2011 fiscal year. This 3.5 percent increase over the current year (a total of $15.5 billion) would allocate these expenditures to 13 different federal agencies responsible for establishing drug use prevention methods and treatment programs, including the ONDCP.
The ONDCP director oversees federal, state, and local policymaking’s adherence to the program’s guidelines and anti-drug strategy, and advises the president of budgeting, management, organization, and personnel changes. According to Title V of the 1988 Anti-Drug Abuse Act, the ONDCP director is obligated to oppose any efforts to legalize illicit drugs, as this would be in direct opposition to the war on drug’s objective. Instead, the director is expected to inform the public of penalization consequences for illicit drug use, possession, and distribution. However, another grave problem that the Office must attempt to challenge is the rising level of prescription drug abuse among the American population. These new proposed expenditures must somehow span not only the eradication of illicit drug abuse but legal drug abuse as well. The goal is to increase funding for abuse and addiction education, prevention, treatment, recovery, supply control programs, interdiction, and domestic law enforcement.
Since the initiation of the ONDCP by the 1988 Anti-Drug Abuse Act, amendments made by subsequent legislation have influenced the development and progress of the Office. The 1994 Violent Crime Control Law and Enforcement Act incorporated drug control policy budgeting and resources regulation into the ONDCP’s mission, and made reporting on anti-drug strategies a priority of the Office. Executive Order No. 12880 (1993) and Executive Orders Nos. 12992 and 13023 (1996) made the ONDCP’s director the government’s chief spokesperson on drug control policy, and made the Office the leader on drug control strategy. The ONDCP is responsible for measuring the effectiveness of its policies and programs. The 1997 Drug Free Communities Act gave the ONDCP the ability to offer grants to U.S. community coalitions that promote drug abuse education, prevention, and resources to the public and collaboration among private companies and organizations.
The 1998 Media Campaign Act allowed the ONDCP to run media campaigns that encourage drug prevention and reduction among adolescents. The Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998 expanded the ONDCP’s authority, such as including the reporting of its requirements and regulations on long-term goals for its strategies and measurement of its performance. The Drugs and Sports Task Force Executive Order 13165 (2000) established the White House Task Force on Drug Use in Sports, authorizing the ONDCP director to become the U.S. government's representative on the Board of the World Anti-doping Agency. Most recently, the 2006 Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act again expanded the authority of the agency by including the reporting of its requirements for new designations and community-based programs.