Most states are acting "quickly and well and effectively" in approving anti-drug laws, says national drug policy director William J. Bennett, but a congressional critic says Bennett is not the person to judge.
Bennett on Thursday released a status report that listed which of 18 anti-drug measures supported by the Bush administration have been approved by each state."The chart is not a ranking of the states, and I would caution against concluding that a state with a lot of dots on this chart is necessarily better off than a state with a few dots," said Bennett, who is resigning this month as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Nevertheless, the states getting the most praise from him generally had passed the most laws.
Rep. Charles B. Rangel, chairman of the House Select Committee on Narcotics and a frequent Bennett adversary, dismissed the ratings.
"While I believe the states should be held accountable for their drug control efforts, I do not believe it should be done by Bill Bennett, because he has no effective federal programs to point to," the New York Democrat said.
Bennett singled out nine states for praise: Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Colorado, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Rhode Island and New Jersey. All but Texas and Pennsylvania have adopted at least 12 of the 18 anti-drug laws checked for the status report.
The measures checked included whether the state:
-Requires eviction of drug offenders from public housing projects.
-Allows the seizure and forfeiture of drug traffickers' assets.
-Has guidelines allowing private employers to conduct random drug tests on their workers.
-Has centers monitoring people for at least six months after they complete drug treatment to ascertain whether the treatment works.
The status report also included each state's per capita spending on drug treatment last year.
The report showed Utah spent $1.19 per capita on drug treatment spending.
New York spent the most: $8 per person. Next was Connecticut, with $4.57; Rhode Island, $3.41; Maryland, $2.43; New Jersey, $2.35; Oregon, $2.17, and Florida, $2.07.