Senate Passes Bill To Fund War on Drugs

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Washington--The Senate has approved a measure that would require schools to have tough anti-drug policies as a condition for receiving federal funds.

The measure was adopted last week on the heels of a $9.4-billion bipartisan budget agreement on funding for the national drug program. The amount agreed to was more than $1 billion over what President Bush had requested last month.

Under the budget measure, all domestic programs, including those of the Education Department, would be subject to a 0.3 percent across-the-board cut to pay for the drug program. Only entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Guaranteed Student Loans, would be spared.

Appropriations subcommittees would then be required to slice an additional 0.13 percent, through across-the-board cuts, specific program cuts, or a combination of the two.

Defense programs would be subject to a 0.43 percent cut, but lawmakers could choose which areas to cut.

All programs under the jurisdiction of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee would be cut by less than $200 million; however, the plan would boost funding for drug-education programs by $183.5 million.

The budget measure also allocates $50 million for substance-abuse programs for addicted pregnant women and their infants, and $40 million to aid children abused and neglected by addicted parents.

The legislative package adopted by the Senate would amend the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1986 to require all schools, as a prerequisite to receiving federal funds, to certify to state education officials that they have implemented a program to prevent the use of drugs and alcohol by students and employees on school grounds or at school-sponsored activities.

Schools would also have to have a clear statement about sanctions--up to and including expulsion or a termination of employment, and referral for prosecution--for students and employees who use drugs on school premises.

Another provision of the package would require states to make federal funds available to districts that want to give drug tests to students who voluntarily participate in extracurricular activities.

Two federal appeals courts have issued conflicting opinions on whether districts can require students who want to participate in activities to submit to drug tests. (See Education Week, Sept. 6, 1989.)

A spokesman for House Speaker Thomas Foley, Democrat of Washington, said the House was not likely to consider its own drug measure before next week.--ef

Vol. 09, Issue 05

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