nation will continue to be poorly informed and policies on illegal drugs will be operating largely in the dark. But the committee recognizes that these steps require determined and effective leadership. Our final recommendation therefore concerns the need for leadership in organizational improvements and reorganization. The committee recommends that the Office of National Drug Control Policy place organizational improvements for data high on its agenda in the immediate future. If it does not move quickly to implement the changes required to improve statistical data the President and Congress should find other ways to ensure that the substantive and organizational changes are swiftly and effectively achieved.
Three decades ago, Congress decided to diversify the federal response to drug problems, investing in surveillance, biobehavioral and etiological research, and education and treatment. As a result, the nation has the data systems and research infrastructure needed to assess the effectiveness of preventive and therapeutic interventions. Although further improvements are needed in these areas, as explained in this report, the data and research capacity are in place. In stark contrast, neither the data systems nor the research infrastructure needed to assess the effectiveness of drug control enforcement policies now exists. It is time for the federal government to remedy this serious deficiency. It is unconscionable for this country to continue to carry out a public policy of this magnitude and cost without any way of knowing whether and to what extent it is having the desired effect.
National Research Council 1999 Assessment of Two Cost-Effectiveness Studies on Cocaine Control Policy. Committee on Data and Research for Policy on Illegal Drugs. C.Manski, J.V.Pepper, and Y. Thomas, eds. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Office of National Drug Control Policy 2000 National Drug Control Strategy: Performance Measures of Effectiveness; FY 2001 Budget Summary. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.