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Increase Sought For Drug Strategy

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Washington--President Bush is seeking an additional $1.1 billion to finance a revised national drug strategy that contains no major new efforts in drug education.

The $10.6-billion plan, unveiled last month, includes a total of $617.7 million for the Education Department, up from $562.5 million this year. It would boost funding for drug education by 10 percent, from $539 million this year to $593 million in fiscal 1991, and allot nearly $25 million for programs in areas most affected by drugs.

The plan also would more than double, to $102 million, the amount available for comprehensive community anti-drug programs that include schools and neighborhood groups.

The strategy, which updates the program outlined by Mr. Bush last September, earmarks $6 million to assist babies born addicted to cocaine, and would increase funds for demonstration projects that target adolescent addicts.

The plan also calls for the expansion of two major federal surveys of drug use. The National High School Senior Survey would be expanded to include dropouts and younger students. And the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse would be conducted annually, instead of every three years, and would see its sample size more than doubled, to 20,000.

Both surveys have been charged by some experts with failing to adequately document the full extent of adolescent drug use. (See Education Week, Oct. 18, 1989.)

The new plan revises upward several goals outlined in the September strategy. Within the next two years, the plan states, the nation must work to reduce by 15 percent the number of teenagers reporting any use of an illegal drug during the previous month, and to reduce by 30 percent the number reporting cocaine use during the previous month.

In addition, the plan calls for drug use reported by teenagers for the previous month to be reduced by 55 percent within the next 10 years.

In a repeat of what happened when the Administration's previous plan was released, Congressional Democrats called the proposals inadequate. Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware last month unveiled an alternative, $14.6-billion drug strategy, which includes an 80 percent boost in drug-education funding.--ef

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