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Federal File: Mrs. Reagan's Crusade; New Federalism's Demise; Federal Aide Value

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Is drug abuse a problem in your school? The First Lady wants to hear about it.

Nancy Reagan, in an article appearing the January issue of Ladies Home Journal, appealed to parents, saying: "If there are drugs in your schools--and it's hard to find any schools that are completely drug-free--I hope you'll write to me at the White House." Mrs. Reagan promised to provide a list of drug-rehabilitation and parent-advocacy groups to her correspondents.

Since her husband took office, Mrs. Reagan has used her position to work against drug abuse among young people. In the magazine article, she criticized the media, especially the motion-picture industry, for "glamorizing" drugs.

Mrs. Reagan also said children have told her that their problems with drugs often began in school, where they had easy access to marijuana and alcohol. Afterwards, she said, they progressed to harder drugs and concoctions such as leaves soaked in pesticides, gasoline, and embalming fluid in order "to produce a greater high."

As White House officials are preparing a scaled-down version of the ''new federalism" proposal unveiled by President Reagan early this year, one of the proposal's former supporters declared last week that the federalism plan "is dead."

The President's plan originally called for a sorting-out of responsibility for various programs among levels of government. The states would be responsible for the food-stamp and welfare programs, while the federal government would assume full responsibility for medical aid for the poor. In addition, more than 40 education, transportation, and social-service programs would be "turned back" to the states and be temporarily supported by a federally funded trust fund.

The Administration's new version would abandon the attempt to divide up responsibility for the three large programs. Because of concern among governors that states could not afford to assume full financial responsibility for food stamps and welfare, only the "program turn-back'' component of the plan may be proposed to the Congress, according to White House documents.

But Gov. Richard Snelling of Vermont, the past chairman of the National Governors' Association, said "new federalism hasn't been born yet. New federalism does not necessarily mean that the feds take total responsibility for income maintenance and the states take total responsibility for something else."

Thirty-three percent of those citizens surveyed in a poll by the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations say they believe they get "the most for [the] money from the federal government."

Twenty-eight percent said local funds were the most valuable, while 20 percent preferred state aid, according to the poll by the federal agency.

The federal government was ranked first in nine of the 11 years during which the commission has taken its poll.--tm & ew

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