Scott Ehlers, Senior Policy Analyst, Drug Policy Foundation, http://www.dpf.org
Senate Republicans took time out from the impeachment hearings on Tuesday, January 19, to present their newest scheme for creating a drug-free America: S. 5,the Drug-Free Century Act (DFCA), and a slew of individual bills that contain elements of the omnibus DFCA. The omnibus DFCA is "comprehensive" according to the sponsor, Sen. DeWine (R-OH), containing "treatment, education, domestic law enforcement, and drug interdiction."
An analysis of the bill, however, reveals the usual lopsided emphasis on law enforcement, incarceration, interdiction, and asset forfeiture, at the expense of anything that remotely resembles treatment, prevention, and education. The DFCA makes it easier for federal law enforcement to forfeit your boat, even if no drugs are found, and take your assets if you happen to go astray of the ever-expanding anti-money laundering laws.
The DFCA seeks to reduce the crack cocaine/powder cocaine sentencing disparity by making it easier to imprison more people for powder cocaine.
Whereas previously it would take 5 kilograms to receive a 10-year mandatory minimum, if the DFCA is enacted it would only take 500 grams. It also changes the quantity required to receive a five-year mandatory minimum, from 500 grams to 50 grams.
Some of the most interesting elements of the bill are contained in the demand reduction section (Title III). Sec. 3005 prohibits any federal funds from being "expended, directly or indirectly," on syringe exchange programs (SEPs). Passage of such language could wipe out many SEPs in the United States, as many programs depend on federal monies to carry out other parts of their drug and HIV prevention programs.
The DFCA would also:
This section of the DFCA authorizes Thomas Constantine, administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, to give the non-profit organization, Parent Collaboration (a subsidiary of National Families in Action, http://www.emory.edu/NFIA/about/partners/collaboration.html) $25 million over five years to reinvigorate the parents' movement of the 1970s.
Did Sue Rusche, Executive Director of National Families in Action, write the Drug-Free Families Act for the Republican Senators? Or does she just have friends in high places, like co-sponsor Sen. Coverdell, who represents her home state of Georgia? Feel free to write Ms. Rusche at [email protected] or Sen. Coverdell at [email protected] and ask them yourself.
The full text and status of federal legislation can be accessed online at http://thomas.loc.gov.