Federal officials will shift more drug-fighting efforts to its 25 largest cities, the Los Angeles Times reports. A report by Congress’ General Accounting Office this month showed that federal resources once committed to the nation’s war on drugs have been diverted to the war on terrorism.
The report said nearly half the FBI agents that once handled drug cases are now assigned to terrorism, and that the government is on a pace to open only one-third of the number of drug investigations this year, compared with 2000.
John P. Walters, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, emphasized the need for improved cooperation among enforcement and drug treatment agencies. “People are not as effective as they could be because they operate in isolation,” Walters said. His office says that the top 25 cities are the sites of 40% of all drug-induced deaths and drug-related arrests. He said that the Drug Enforcement Administration is seeking additional funding over the next fiscal year to increase its staff by 400 positions.
Walters acknowledged that the localization of the effort to curb drug use would require money from already budget-strapped cities and counties.