Department of Justice Drug Demand Reduction Activities

Report No. 03-12
February 2003
Office of the Inspector General



A strategic objective of the Department of Justice (DOJ) is to "break the cycle of drugs and violence by reducing the demand for and use and trafficking of illegal drugs."1 Early federal drug control efforts concentrated primarily on enforcement. However, it has been widely recognized that enforcement alone was not sufficient and that federal efforts to reduce the demand for drugs were necessary. These drug demand reduction efforts include those policies and programs dealing with drug abuse education, prevention, treatment, research, rehabilitation, drug?free workplace programs, and drug testing.2

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) conducted this audit to identify and review the DOJ's drug demand reduction activities. The objectives of the audit were to (1) identify all DOJ programs that related to drug demand reduction, to quantify the total amount of DOJ obligations for each program, and to verify that financial information provided to the Office of the National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)3 was prepared in accordance with its circulars; (2) determine whether the DOJ performance measures are adequate to determine the success of programs; (3) identify whether DOJ drug demand reduction activities were duplicative and whether DOJ components were coordinating drug demand reduction efforts; and (4) review the DEA activities and funding dedicated to drug demand reduction.

In this audit, we conducted approximately 50 interviews with over 60 officials from the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Office of Legal Policy (OLP), Justice Management Division (JMD), and the ONDCP. Additionally, we conducted fieldwork at the DEA Rocky Mountain Field Division and the BOP Florence Federal Correctional Institute. We also reviewed DOJ policies and procedures, program information, strategic and program plans, budget documentation, organizational structures, Congressional testimony, and prior OIG and General Accounting Office reports related to drug demand reduction.

Summary of Audit Findings

As reported in the ONDCP FYs 2002 and 2003 budget summaries, the total federal drug demand reduction budget for FY 2001 was $5.9 billion, of which the DOJ reported drug demand reduction funding of $325 million. We concluded that the DOJ programs reported to the ONDCP do not accurately reflect the DOJ drug demand reduction activities.

Our audit also disclosed that none of the current performance indicators are adequate to measure the effectiveness of the DOJ drug demand reduction programs, and the DOJ has not established a formalized mechanism for sharing drug demand reduction program information among the components.

Finally, we found that the DEA's FY 2001 obligations dedicated to drug demand reduction consisted of only $3 million (0.2 percent) of its total obligations. In our judgment, the DEA should evaluate what impact it can achieve on reducing the demand for drugs with such a small percentage of its funding devoted to this effort.

I. Drug Demand Reduction Resources

Based on the DOJ Management Assertion Statements submitted to the ONDCP, we determined that during FY 2001 the DOJ reported $336 million4 in total drug demand reduction obligations. The $336 million included 19 programs administered by the BOP, COPS Office, DEA, and OJP. We identified an additional program administered by OJP with total reported FY 2001 obligations of $50 million reported as state and local assistance that, in our judgment, should have been reported as drug demand reduction. As a result, our audit included a total of 20 DOJ programs with total reported FY 2001 obligations of about $386 million.

For each of the programs reported as drug demand reduction to the ONDCP, we analyzed the program's mission, strategic goals, and objectives to identify specific drug demand reduction activities within the DOJ. Based on our analysis we determined that the programs reported to the ONDCP do not, in our judgment, accurately reflect the DOJ's drug demand reduction efforts. We identified 10 programs with total reported obligations of $223 million that were not directly related to drug demand reduction. As a result, the DOJ obligations directly related to drug demand reduction for the remaining 10 DOJ programs were actually $163 million, not the $336 million that was reported in FY 2001.

Additionally, our analysis of the methodologies used to prepare drug?related financial information reported to the ONDCP revealed that the estimates used by the COPS Office, DEA, and OJP were not adequately supported. The drug demand reduction obligations reported for 12 programs within the COPS Office, DEA, and OJP were based on estimated percentages applied to the total program obligations. The COPS Office and OJP could not provide us with any information to support the rationale used in developing estimated percentages or the relationship between the estimates and any drug demand reduction activities. Further, the DEA's estimated percentage, based in part on salaries and benefits, did not include all Demand Reduction Section staff. Based on our review of the reported programs, the evidence indicates that the DOJ's reported drug demand reduction activities should be reduced by at least half.

II. Effectiveness of Drug Demand Reduction Efforts

Despite the fact that significant resources have been allocated to drug demand reduction activities, the demand for drugs as a percentage of the population has not significantly decreased since 1989.5 However, these statistics do not necessarily reflect the impact that individual programs may have in reducing the demand for drugs. In order to assess the effectiveness of the DOJ drug demand reduction efforts, we analyzed the performance indicators established by the components for each program to determine if they adequately measure program effectiveness and whether the data reported for the performance indicators was adequately supported.

Our audit revealed that none of the current performance indicators used by the BOP, COPS Office, or OJP are adequate to measure program effectiveness. Generally, the performance indicators used by the three DOJ components are output based, measuring the number of tasks and activities, rather than outcome based, measuring the results and effectiveness of program activities. Further, the DEA has not established any performance indicators for its drug demand reduction programs, even though drug demand reduction is one of the DEA's strategic objectives.

Additionally, we identified the following problems related to the data used to report results for the performance indicators:

    The BOP Sentry system,6 reported as the source of data for all of the BOP performance indicators, does not record information related to the number of drug counseling hours for inmates. Instead, BOP officials estimated the number of drug counseling hours based on the number of program participants.

    The accuracy of the data used to report performance indicators for the COPS Office could not be verified because the original data was not retained. Further, the original data could not be recreated because the COPS Management System (CMS) does not have the capability of generating reports for a specific point-in-time.

  • The OJP did not verify the data reported for 38 of the 42 performance indicators used for its 12 programs included in this audit.

III. Coordination of Drug Demand Reduction Activities

We found that that multiple DOJ programs address similar drug demand reduction purpose areas; however, most of these programs provided services to different categories of recipients or different geographical locations. For example, we found that the DEA and OJP both administer programs that provide drug abuse education; the BOP and OJP both administer programs that provide drug treatment for offenders; and the DEA and OJP both administer programs that provide assistance to communities in implementing a community-wide approach to prevention efforts. Although our audit did not disclose any significant duplication of drug demand reduction activities among the DOJ components, since multiple programs address similar purpose areas, the components should have a mechanism for sharing information, resources, and technical assistance. Currently, coordination efforts appear to be ad hoc, occurring only when one of the participants requires additional financial or technical resources; however, there is no formalized mechanism within the DOJ for sharing information among the components, coordinating program activities, sharing resources, and exchanging technical assistance.

IV. DEA Drug Demand Reduction Activities and Funding

The DEA's drug demand reduction efforts are largely conducted by its Demand Reduction Section, which was established in 1986 to support and coordinate the DEA's prevention activities. The Demand Reduction Section is located within the Office of Congressional and Public Affairs, which also includes the (1) Museum Staff, (2) Information Services Staff, (3) Congressional Affairs Section, (4) Public Affairs Section, and (5) Audio Visual Staff.

During the period covered by our audit, the DEA's Demand Reduction Section consisted of 8 headquarters staff and 27 Demand Reduction Coordinators (DRCs) located in the field or other operational division offices. According to the DEA, each DRC reports to the Special Agent in Charge of the field division and is responsible for directing his or her own drug demand reduction activities.

In FY 2001, the DEA reported to the ONDCP total obligations for its Demand Reduction Section of about $3 million, which equates to only 0.2 percent of the $1.4 billion total DEA obligations. We believe the DEA should consider what potential impact it can have on the demand for drugs when only 0.2 percent of its funding was dedicated to drug demand reduction in FY 2001. Based on the DEA's recent statements, it appears that the DEA plans to devote additional resources to its drug demand reduction efforts in the future.

V. OIG Recommendations

In this report we recommend that the components ensure that reported demand reduction activities and funding are accurate and supported by adequate documentation. We further recommend that the components develop verifiable and measurable outcome based performance indicators for drug demand reduction programs, and that DOJ and the components establish a formalized mechanism for coordinating and sharing information related to drug demand reduction activities. Finally, we recommend that the DEA evaluate what impact it can achieve on its stated objective "to educate local audiences with aggressive drug demand reduction programs" with such a small percentage of its funding (0.2 percent) devoted to drug demand reduction activities.

The details of the results of our audit are contained in the Findings and Recommendations section of this report. Additional information related to our audit objectives, scope, and methodology appears in Appendix III.


  1. The U.S. Department of Justice, Fiscal Years 2001- 2006, Strategic Plan, dated November 2001 (DOJ Strategic Plan).
  2. The Office of National Drug Control Policy, FY 2001 - FY 2007 Strategic Plan.
  3. The ONDCP is a component within the Executive Office of the President of the United States, and is not a part of the DOJ. The ONDCP was created to set national drug control priorities and implement the National Drug Control Strategy.
  4. The amounts included in this report have been rounded, as appropriate.
  5. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), 1998 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse.
  6. The Sentry system is the BOP's national on-line automated information system used to provide operational and management information requirements.