Democrats assail Bush's strategy against drug abuse


WASHINGTON -- Congressional leaders criticized the Bush administration yesterday for overstating its gains in reducing drug abuse, and the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman said the government should spend $3 billion more than the White House has proposed next year for the war on drugs.

Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., D-Del., released his own 198-page plan fight drugs a week after the Bush administration presented its annual update on suppressing narcotics. Senate and House committees held separate hearings yesterday to review the administration's plan.

The administration calls for spending $11.7 billion in the budget year beginning Oct. 1, a $1.1 billion, or 11 percent, increase over current spending.

President Bush announced the budget request and new drug strategy last week as he and administration officials declared that the nation had achieved goals set in September 1989 when the first national drug-control strategy was established.

Mr. Biden and Representative Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse, said the administration failed to acknowledge the drug problem fully, particularly in inner cities. Mr. Biden's $14.7 billion drug plan would spend more money in law enforcement, drug treatment and education, and aid to cocaine-producing nations in South America.

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