Federal grants are the main source of drug-education and prevention funding in more than half of the nation's rural school districts, the General Accounting Office has found.
According to a C.A.O. report, which was done at the request of Representative William H. Natcher of Kentucky, chairman of the appropriations subcommittee on labor, health and human services, and education, two-thirds of rural districts that receive federal drug-free school grants say the money covers more than half of their total drug-education program.
Since 1986, the Education Department has distributed $1.1 billion to states under the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act. States receive funds on the basis of their school-age population and the number of those living in poverty.
The report found that the median Drug-Free School grant in the 211 rural districts surveyed was $5,200, although federal funding ranged from $350 to $127,000.
The report found that federal aid was the catalyst some communities needed to begin offering drug education.
About one-fourth of the grant recipients said they had no formal program before they began to receive the federal money.