House of Representatives appropriators for the U.S. Education Department have voted to eliminate the state grants portion of the Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities program, reports the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA). The group is urging its members to work for restoration of the program, which it says will have “dire consequences,” including ) dismantling the school based drug and violence prevention infrastructures that are currently in place in most local school districts. CADCA warned that “softening attitudes” about narcotics generally precede an increase in drug use by about two years.
The group said the federal program requires all schools that receive funding to engage in strategic planning and data collection. CADCA calls this “the prevention safety net in most communities” that serves as an early warning network for identifying and dealing with emerging drug trends, such as meth and “cheese.” Without this funding, all of these planning and data collection efforts, which are now required by law, would become an unfunded mandate and disappear, CADCA says. The Obama administration budget called on Congress to eliminate the program, even though it had been supported by Barack Obama and Joe Biden as senators.