A 16-year project that tests arrestees in 35 cities to find out what narcotics they may be using is being killed by the U.S. Justice Department, which blames budget cuts by Congress.
As the White House and lawmakers lavish federal funds on antiterror programs, the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring program (ADAM) is ending. A stop work order issued last week by the National Institute of Justice, the Justice Department’s research arm, blamed Congress for cutting the agency’s allocation.
NIJ called ADAM “the cornerstone of the drugs and crime research portfolio at NIJ for many years. ADAM data have helped to inform both local and national policymakers and practitioners about hardcore drug users, the emergence of new drugs, and the nature of drug markets.” One former NIJ official said ADAM’s shutdown could “make us revert back 20 years” in spotting and analyzing drug-abuse trends.
Last month, Crime & Justice News reported that NIJ, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy were developing a “promising strategy” to overhaul ADAM and produce a “reliable national estimate” of arrestee drug use. Some experts say that national figures would not reflect important local variations.
NIJ’s statement shutting down ADAM expressed the hope that Congress would provide funding “to implement a revised arrestee drug monitoring program.” ADAM had grown to an annual budget of about $8 million. Congress is cutting the agency’s budget this year from nearly $60 million to $48 million. Much of that money is earmarked for specific projects that did not allow ADAM to be continued at its current level from the agency’s research and evaluation budget, which totals $10 million.