Building the Capacity to Address the Nation’s Drug Problems

November 2008 - To assist Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in improving its ability to accomplish this critical mission, Congress asked the National Academy to conduct a comprehensive assessment of ONDCP’s management, structure and human capital.

The independent National Academy Panel that was formed to carry out this project sought input from experts in drug research, prevention, treatment, data collection, community outreach, and law enforcement. More than 135 individuals, including ONDCP’s leadership and staff, partner drug agency representatives, stakeholders, and grantees, were consulted during the course of the study.

Overview

To assist Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in improving its ability to accomplish this critical mission, Congress asked the National Academy to conduct a comprehensive assessment of ONDCP’s management, structure and human capital. The National Academy Panel formed to carry out this project sought input from experts in drug research, prevention, treatment, data collection, community outreach, and law enforcement. More than 135 individuals, including ONDCP’s leadership and staff, partner drug agency representatives, stakeholders, and grantees, were consulted during the course of the study. Since the term “war on drugs” was first coined more than 35 years ago, few matters of national policy have engendered as much controversy regarding strategy and approach. Nor have they required such a broad operational platform across federal, state and local programs and law enforcement agencies. Literally thousands of public and private organizations play important parts in the complex effort to reduce illicit drug use, minimize its negative consequences, and keep these dangerous drugs out of the country and off of America’s streets. Developing an effective strategy to accomplish these goals and coordinating its implementation are the monumental tasks facing the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

Key Findings

Central to the Panel’s recommendations is that ONDCP develop a comprehensive, multi-year approach to strategic planning. The Panel also identified opportunities for ONDCP to streamline its organization; decentralize its management processes; and improve its human capital policies and practices. In addition, the Panel recommended that Congress revise ONDCP’s federal drug control budget responsibilities to reflect its policy and coordination focus and maximize its impact.