Assembly members question multitude of anti-drug programs |

Assembly members question multitude of anti-drug programs

Geoff Dornan, Appeal Capitol Bureau

Assembly Ways and Means members on Wednesday questioned the multitude of anti-drug programs funded by the state.

Assemblywoman Chris Giunchigliani, D-Las Vegas, said there are dozens of programs getting grants from a variety of sources from criminal justice to education to health and human services and that lawmakers don’t have any idea how much they overlap, which ones are working and which ones aren’t.

“We need to pull all drug money into one place and let’s see what’s working,” she told deputy superintendents of education Doug Thunder and Keith Rheault.

That way, she said, the state could decide which ones deserve funding and which should be dropped. She said the money should go to the programs that do the best job, and that overlap and duplication should be reduced.

“No offense to DARE, but it’s long been said that program isn’t effective,” said Giunchigliani, who is familiar with the Drug Awareness Resistance Education program as a former teacher.

She said they need to poll school districts and “see how many programs they’ve got out there.”

“We’re funding all these programs and we don’t know which ones work,” she said. “We need to get a handle on this. Then let’s pick the top two or three programs and fund them.”

She was joined by Minority Leader Lynn Hettrick, R-Gardnerville, and veteran Assembly member John Marvel, R-Battle Mountain.

“I agree with Chris,” said Marvel. “We looked around in all these budgets and you’re right: there’s all kinds of drug money. But we don’t see results.”

“Pick the top three programs or whatever it is and fund them and get away from doing 100 programs and 100 administrators,” said Hettrick. “Something ought be consolidated here to make this a lot more effective program.”

Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, added that lawmakers should look not only at education programs but those at the Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Abuse and every other agency in the state.

No action was taken, but lawmakers asked staff and the Education Department to begin looking into the number and variety of anti-drug abuse programs operated through state government.