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Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse
September, 2001

Congressional Affairs

(Prepared August 13, 2001)

Fiscal 2002 Budget

Progress on the Labor-HHS Appropriations bill continues, although other pressing legislative concerns took center stage for the Congress before the summer recess. At the time of the recess, scheduled from August 3, 2001 to September 5, 2001 the House had passed nine of the appropriations bills, and the Senate four of the bills.

As a result, by the start of the recess lawmakers in both parties had begun suggesting that the two most expensive of the 13 appropriations bills -- Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education -- will likely be among the last cleared. There was also speculation that the two measures might be combined into a single piece of legislation, one that would allot more than three-fifths of all discretionary spending in the fiscal year starting October 1, 2001.

President Bush's proposal would spend $115.7 billion in discretionary funds on programs governed by the Labor-HHS bill, a 6.6% increase. That proposal did not assume the additional fiscal year 2002 spending that is likely to be authorized in whatever education bill emerges from conference. The House bill would allow that amount to increase by $4.6 billion, the Senate by $14.4 billion.


JMay 11, 2001 - Dr. Timothy P. Condon, Associate Director, NIDA and Dr. Jack Blaine, Chief, Medications Research Grants Branch, DTRD, briefed Alan Slobodin, Counsel for the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on prescription drug abuse. The Subcommittee was in preparation for a hearing on the re-importation of pharmaceuticals and sought information on the science of addiction as it related to prescription drugs. Keith Van Wagner, OSPC, accompanied Dr. Condon and Dr. Blaine.

May 14, 2001 - Dr. Alan I. Leshner, Director, NIDA, along with Dr. Ruth Kirschstein, Acting Director, NIH and other members of the NIH community, briefed Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) on Outreach Programs that are on-going for substance abuse and child health. Dr. Leshner spoke specifically on preventing drug use among children and adolescents. Keith Van Wagner, OSPC, accompanied Dr. Leshner.

June 29, 2001 - Dr. Frank Vocci, Director, DTRD, attended a briefing of Bill Duncan, staffer to Rep. Jim Istook (R-OK). The briefing focused on innovations in substance abuse treatment and was held at NIH. Along with Dr. Vocci, representatives from NIAAA and SAMHSA provided information to Mr. Duncan on the topic. Mary Mayhew, OSPC, accompanied Dr. Vocci.

July 23, 2001 - Susan David, Deputy Director of the Prevention Research Branch, DESPR, briefed Sharon Pinkerton and staff members of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources on the status of NIDA's evaluation of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. The Media Campaign is run by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and was the focus of a hearing before the Subcommittee on August 1, 2001. Mary Mayhew and Keith Van Wagner, OSPC, accompanied Ms. David.

July 26, 2001 - At the request of Tony Haywood, minority staffer for the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources, Susan David, Deputy Director of the Prevention Research Branch in the Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research, briefed him on NIDA's evaluation of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. The Media Campaign is run by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and was the focus of a hearing before the Subcommittee on August 1, 2001. Mary Mayhew and Keith Van Wagner, OSPC, accompanied Ms. David.

July 31, 2001 - Dr. Glen Hanson, Director, Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral Research, participated in a teleconference on drug abuse that was sponsored by Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO). The panel's discussion was broadcast to the Kansas City area, and focused primarily on the growing use of Club Drugs and their spread into mainstream America. Mary Mayhew, OSPC, accompanied Dr. Hanson.


House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Hearing - June 7, 2001

Dr. Leshner was invited to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Rep. James Greenwood (R-PA), at a hearing on: "Continuing Concerns Over Imported Pharmaceuticals". The hearing focused on growing concerns that American consumers are not being given adequate protection by the federal government against unsafe pharmaceuticals being imported from abroad. Witnesses included representatives from ONDCP, DEA, US Customs, state and local law enforcement and the pharmaceutical industry.

In his statement before the Subcommittee, Dr. Leshner detailed the latest scientific findings about psychoactive prescription drugs and their potential for abuse. He also informed the members of the recent launch of NIDA's major initiative on prescription drug abuse and misuse. He also discussed efforts to encourage more research into this area and to educate the public about the consequences of abusing prescription drugs. Dr. Leshner stressed that these medications, when taken as directed, can be important life-saving tools, though the public needs to be made aware of the potential dangers posed by misuse.

Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Hearing - July 30, 2001

The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, chaired by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), held a hearing on "The Rising Use of the Drug Ecstasy: Focusing on Ways the Government Can Combat the Problem". Dr. Leshner, along with representatives from ONDCP, DEA, US Customs, and state and local law enforcement, was invited to testify before the Committee. The hearing was convened to learn more about the combined and coordinated efforts on the part of the Federal government to effectively and efficiently combat the threat of Ecstasy. The Committee brought together a broad spectrum of Federal agencies to describe the public health threat of MDMA from the law enforcement, interdiction, education, prevention and research perspectives.

Testifying before the Committee, Dr. Leshner detailed the current state of the science regarding Ecstasy research, as well as what still needs to be discovered in this area. Expounding on some of the potential health consequences of use and abuse, Dr. Leshner told the Committee that in his opinion, the most troubling aspect of MDMA was its impact on the neurotransmitter, serotonin. He also informed the Committee of NIDA's recent National Conference on MDMA Research, which focused on not only on what is known about the drug, but what needs to be emphasized in future investigations. Sen. Lieberman asked Dr. Leshner if there were any legitimate psychoanalytic uses for the drug. Dr. Leshner indicated that there has never been a controlled clinical trial demonstrating MDMA's usefulness for any purpose.

House Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources Subcommittee Hearing - August 1, 2001

Susan David, Deputy Director of the Prevention Research Branch, DESPR, was invited to testify before the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources, chaired by Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) at a hearing on "The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign: How to Ensure the Program Operates Efficiently and Effectively?" The hearing was held to consider how to make sure that the billion dollar Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, now in it's fourth year, operates in such a way that it has a meaningful impact to prevent drug abuse among young people. Ms. David testified as to the work being done to successfully complete the Phase III evaluation of the Media Campaign.

Bills of Interest

S. 89 - Drug-Free America Act of 2001 - Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) introduced S. 89 on January 22, 2001, a bill that primarily is designed to enhance the illegal narcotics control activities of the US, including provisions relating to enhancing inspection and drug interdiction capabilities of the Customs Service and the National Guard. The bill also authorizes NIDA's Clinical Trials Network to conduct its large-scale treatment studies in community settings. Under the proposed legislation, the authorization would be through Fiscal Year 2007. The bill also includes a 'sense of the Senate' section that encourages NIH to work with experts from private industry to promote research regarding pharmacological options that may be employed to support drug treatment efforts. The bill would also increase the number of residential drug abuse treatment units in Federal prisons and compel the Secretary of HHS to award grants in establishing adolescent therapeutic community treatment programs. In addition, it would have grants awarded by ONDCP to establish the National Community Anti-Drug Coalition, funding up to two million dollars in Fiscal Year 2002. S. 89 was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. No further action has been taken.

S. 304 - Drug Abuse Education, Prevention and Treatment Act of 2001 - Citing the need for a more balanced approach to the war on drugs, a bipartisan group of senators introduced S. 304 on February 13, 2001. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and four original co-sponsors (2 Republican, 2 Democrat) introduced the bill to reduce illegal drug use and trafficking and to help provide appropriate drug education, prevention, and treatment programs. Along with provisions that would increase penalties for drug-related offenses involving juveniles and reestablish drug courts, S. 304 allows for drug-free prison incentive grants for the creation and expansion of substance abuse treatment programs in correctional settings. Included in the bill is language that encourages an aftercare component in the treatment of prisoners for drug abuse and addiction. Section 308 calls for the expansion of drug abuse prevention and treatment research at NIDA and authorizes an appropriation of $76.4 million for that purpose. The bill also provides for the development of additional school and community-based drug education and prevention programs that are 'researched-based'. In addition, S. 304 contains a section that would include religious organizations as Non-Governmental Organizations that should be considered to provide assistance on the same basis as other such organizations. Upon its introduction, S. 304 was referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. No further action has been taken, though the bill has gained two additional Democrat co-sponsors.

S. 843/H.R. 1896 - Treatment on Demand Assistance Act - These bills, Sen. Barbara Boxer's (D-CA) S. 843, and it's House companion, sponsored by Rep. Calvin Dooley (D-CA), were introduced on May 8th and May 17th of 2001, respectively. The bills would authorize grants for the purpose of increasing the maximum number of individuals to whom public and nonprofit private entities are capable of providing effective treatment for substance abuse, with the goal of ensuring that substance abuse treatment is available for all who seek it. They would set up state grant programs to support: the construction of treatment facilities; payments to treatment centers; drug testing; and counseling, including mental health services. Among the programs proposed under the bills, several would provide substance abuse treatment to convicted criminals. States would be required to match the money with non-federal contributions. S. 843 would authorize $600 million in Fiscal Year 2002, and increase funding by an additional $600 million each year through Fiscal Year 2006 - for a total funding of $3 billion. H.R. 1896 would authorize $250 million each year through 2006. The House version of the bill has 28 co-sponsors (24 Democrats, 3 Republicans, and 1 Independent), while the Senate bill has none. The Treatment on Demand Assistance Act was referred to the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in the Senate, and both the Energy & Commerce and Judiciary Committees in the House. S. 843 is very similar to S. 160, a bill previously introduced in the 107th Congress by Sen. Boxer.

S. 1208/H.R. 2582 - Ecstasy Prevention Act of 2001 - On July 19, 2001, Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) and six co-sponsors (five Democrats and 1 Republican) introduced a bill in the Senate that is designed to combat the trafficking, distribution, and abuse of Ecstasy (and other club drugs) in the United States. On July 20, 2001, Rep. John Mica (R-FL) and four co-sponsors (3 Republicans and 1 Democrat) introduced a House companion bill, H.R. 2582. The bills include provisions for new grants for Ecstasy abuse prevention, combating the trafficking of MDMA in areas designated by ONDCP as high intensity drug trafficking areas, and the creation of a drug test for MDMA. They would also direct NIDA to submit a report to Congress by January 1, 2003 on the progress and current findings of the research on the health consequences of Ecstasy abuse. In addition, S. 1208/ H.R. 2582 would establish an interagency Ecstasy/Club Drug Task Force to design, implement, and evaluate the education, prevention, and treatment practices and strategies of the Federal Government with respect to Ecstasy, MDMA, and emerging club drugs. H.R. 2582 differs from S. 1208 only in that it would require NIDA to submit an interim report on MDMA research before the final report. S. 1208 was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, while H.R. 2582 has been put before the House Energy & Commerce Committee and the House Judiciary Committee.

H. Con Res. 84 - Sponsored by Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA), this resolution aims to support Red Ribbon Week, which promotes drug-free communities through drug prevention efforts, education, parental involvement, and community-wide support. It also encourages all Americans to promote drug-free communities and to participate in drug prevention activities to show support for healthy, productive, drug-free lifestyles. On March 27, 2001 H. Con. Res. 84 was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. On July 18, 2001, the full Committee considered the resolution during a Mark-up session and ordered it to be Reported out by Unanimous Consent.

H.R. 1 - No Child Left Behind Act - Introduced by Rep John Boehner (R-OH), H.R. 1 passed the House on May 23, 2001. The exhaustive bill would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to revise, rename, consolidate, and reauthorize certain educational programs and activities. The main component of the bill would require states to test elementary and junior high students in math and reading each year. The bill also would authorize funding for disadvantaged students to meet higher standards, professional development for teachers, funding to states for innovative strategies, safe and drug free schools programs and education technology programs. One amendment to the bill offered and accepted would require the active, written consent of parents before an educational agency or institution can administer any survey to a child concerning "illegal, anti-social, or self-incrementing behavior", which could potentially have an adverse effect on on-going NIDA research, including the Monitoring the Future study. The bill, as of August 1, 2001 is in Conference.

H.R. 162 - Mental Health and Substance Abuse Parity Amendments of 2001 - Introduced by Rep. Marge Roukema (R-NJ) on January 3, 2001, H.R. 162 is identical to legislation sponsored in the 106th Congress by the Representative. The bill would amend the Public Health Service Act, Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to prohibit group and individual health plans from imposing treatment limitations or financial requirements on the coverage of mental health benefits and on the coverage of substance abuse and chemical dependency benefits if similar limitations or requirements are not imposed on medical and surgical benefits. H.R. 162 has been referred to the House Education and the Workforce, the House Energy and Commerce, and the House Ways and Means committees. When originally introduced, H.R. 162 had 27 co-sponsors. At present the bill has 155 co-sponsors (131 Democrats, 23 Republicans, and 1 Independent), though no further action has been taken.

H.R. 2291 - reauthorization of the Drug Free Communities Act - On June 21, 2001, Rep. Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced H.R. 2291 that would extend the authorization of the Drug-Free Communities Support program for an additional 5 years, to authorize a National Community Anti-Drug Coalition Institute, and for other purposes. H.R. 2291 has 37 co-sponsors (21 Democrats, 16 Republicans). Included in the bill are provisions to fund the program at just over $50 million for Fiscal Year 2002, with roughly $10 million increases each year through Fiscal Year 2007. Also included are additional grants to foster coalition mentoring activities under the Drug-Free Communities Support Program and an increase of the limit on administrative costs to six percent. In addition, the bill would allow ONDCP to make grants to an organization to provide for the establishment of a National Community Anti-Drug Coalition Institute. The appropriation for this authorization would be $2 million in Fiscal Year 2002. H.R. 2291 was referred to both the House Energy & Commerce and Government Reform Committees. On July 24, 2001 H.R. 2291 was sent to the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources for Mark-up, and then ordered to be Reported on July 25, 2001 after being forwarded and Marked-up by the full Committee.

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