Interdepartmental Cooperation of Drug Enforcement Programs

Gao ID: 120638 February 25, 1983

In response to a congressional request, GAO testified on federal drug interdiction efforts. Federal efforts to attack the vast supply of illicit drugs being smuggled into the country have three major components: international programs, interdiction at the border, and domestic drug law enforcement. Although federal resources devoted to drug interdiction have more than tripled in the last 5 years, the results remain limited. While joint special projects conducted by two or more agencies have proven especially effective in attacking drug smuggling, their positive results are not typical of the day-to-day operations of federal investigative agencies. The authority and responsibility for federal drug interdiction efforts are split among three executive departments, each with different programs, goals, and priorities. Congressional oversight and executive department resource allocation decisions relative to drug interdiction are, at best, difficult under these circumstances. GAO believes there is a need for strong central leadership and a more definitive strategy to clarify the various agencies' drug interdiction roles. Interdiction is only one part of the federal effort to reduce the drug supply and alone cannot be expected to solve the drug problems. GAO believes that the executive department should have one individual or group with the responsibility for evaluating operations and making recommendations for resource allocation, not only for interdiction, but within and across all components of the federal drug effort.

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