Office of National Drug Control Policy Open Government Plan

Executive Summary

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) fosters healthy individuals and safe communities by effectively leading the Nation’s effort to reduce drug use and its consequences. Working with Federal agencies, State and local government officials, non-profit organizations, and the private sector, ONDCP develops a national strategy to reduce: illicit drug use, manufacturing, and trafficking; drug-related crime and violence; and drug-related health consequences. Collaborating with individuals and partner organizations is vital to the success of the Agency, and ONDCP is committed to the principles of openness outlined in the Open Government Directive.

Included here are ONDCP activities that currently support the goals of Open Government, including the development and dissemination of the National Drug Control Strategy; Agency policies for communication of data and results, events, and budgetary information; and a variety of methods for informing key audiences. Notwithstanding ongoing efforts, ONDCP recognizes there is significant room for enhancing these activities and is committed to revising policies and expanding activities to ensure continued and sustained improvement.

The plan outlined here provides a two-year strategy for improving transparency, participation, and collaboration at ONDCP. For each of these principles, specific activities and associated timelines have been provided. The Agency will enhance internal management through administration or implementation of policies to reach these goals, as well as launch innovative new tools to further engage the public. The ONDCP Flagship Initiative outlines the development of a new online data source that will enhance collaboration among Federal partners, make public new data about drug use, and serve as a foundation upon which partners can develop related projects.

Public input was solicited and considered in the development of this plan. Through the ONDCP blog and other online feedback mechanisms and public engagement opportunities, ONDCP will continue to expand, enhance, and revise this plan to improve openness at the Agency.

Current Activities that Support Open Government

Transparency, participation, and collaboration are guiding principles of the ongoing operations of ONDCP, and the Agency is continually working to improve its effectiveness through new partnerships and technologies. Below is a description of several of these ongoing activities:

Development of the National Drug Control Strategy

ONDCP, as required by Congress, collaborates with the Federal agencies, as well as State, local, and tribal agencies, to develop and publish the National Drug Control Strategy (Strategy). The Strategy sets forth a comprehensive plan each year to help reduce illicit drug use and its consequences by limiting the availability of and demand for illegal drugs, and the abuse of legal drugs. The soon-to-be-released 2010 National Drug Control Strategy is a balanced approach to reducing drug use and its consequences, and it highlights effective drug control programs and policies in prevention, treatment, law enforcement, and international collaboration. The Strategy was developed through an extensive, nationwide consultative process conducted by Director Kerlikowske at the direction of the President. It included meetings with Federal partners, a national “Listening Tour,” numerous meetings with stakeholders in the drug control community, and letters soliciting official comment from more than 600 organizations. Director Kerlikowske traveled the country and participated in roundtables to listen to people working on these issues daily, including those in the law enforcement, prevention, and treatment communities. Members of Congress, community leaders, and other elected officials hosted these roundtable discussions. Comments were also received through meetings with and letters from relevant stakeholders. These included meetings with several Indian tribes, tribal organizations, and associations representing the National American Indian Housing Council, National Congress of American Indians, Navajo Nation, National Council of Urban Indian Health, and the National Native American Law Enforcement Association. The 2010 Strategy reflects an effort to respond to issues raised by these partners and stakeholders.

Communicating Data and Results

ONDCP annually submits to Congress an evaluation of progress with respect to national drug control program goals that describe success in reducing domestic and foreign sources of illegal drugs; success in protecting the borders of the United States (and in particular the Southwestern border of the United States) from drug trafficking; success in reducing violent crime associated with drug use in the United States; success in reducing the negative health and social consequences of drug use in the United States; and implementation of drug treatment and prevention programs in the United States, as well as improvements in the adequacy and effectiveness of such programs.

Moreover, ONDCP ensures drug prevention and drug treatment research and information is effectively disseminated to State, local, and tribal governments along with non-governmental entities, including those involved in demand reduction and law enforcement. ONDCP also supports the substance abuse information clearinghouses administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS), coordinated by Department of Justice.

Communicating Events

The ONDCP Office of Public Affairs assists the Director in his service as the Administration’s spokesperson on drug control issues. The ONDCP Director engages in significant travel and meets regularly with high profile individuals and groups concerning three of ONDCP’s policy priorities: drugged driving, prevention, and prescription drugs. The Office of Public Affairs develops and implements strategic communication plans designed to generate media exposure and public awareness for key drug control programs and priorities. In addition, the Office of Intergovernmental and Public Liaison, through the ONDCP website and its blog, provides timely updates of ONDCP public activities.

Transparency in Policy Development

Congress appropriates, on an annual basis, funds available for ONDCP research and evaluation. The Office of Research and Data Analysis typically use these funds to conduct secondary analysis in developing national drug control policy and aid Strategy development. Results of the research are posted electronically on the NCJRS Clearinghouse website and/or the ONDCP publications website. The only primary research conducted by the Office of Research and Data Analysis is the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) program, which examines drug use trends of arrestees in ten jurisdictions. Results of ADAM are published annually on the ONDCP publications website.

Communicating the Drug Control Budget

The head of each national drug control program agency is required to submit to the ONDCP Office of Performance and Budget a copy of its respective proposed drug control budget request. The drug control budget request includes all requests for funds for any drug-control activity undertaken. After confirming that each request appropriately supports the President’s drug control priorities, ONDCP develops a consolidated national drug control program budget proposal designed to implement the National Drug Control Strategy and to inform Congress and the public about the total amount proposed to be spent on all supply reduction, demand reduction, State, local, and tribal affairs, including any drug law enforcement, and other drug control activities by the Federal Government.

Informing Key Audiences

National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign

ONDCP’s National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign (Campaign) has developed a comprehensive anti-meth campaign, including TV, print, radio and online ads, along with, a website providing detailed information on meth use, its consequences, and prevention and treatment resources for young adults and parents. Advertisements and other media efforts are specifically targeted to those areas of the country facing significant meth problems. ONDCP is also planning a spring launch of its American Indian/Native American Anti-Meth Campaign, which focuses on at-risk communities, who are disproportionately affected by methamphetamine abuse and addiction. All of these efforts provide parents, youth, and other State, tribal and community leaders with the knowledge and tools necessary to help prevent use of methamphetamine, help those struggling with meth addiction find the care they need, and reduce the drug’s corrosive influence within their communities. The Campaign will be expanding our effort to reach a larger audience of caring adults, including parents, to make them aware of troubling trends among teens, such as prescription drug abuse.

High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas

The mission of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) is to disrupt the market for illegal drugs in the United States by assisting Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement entities with collaboration, cooperation, and information sharing. HIDTA task forces work to dismantle and disrupt drug trafficking organizations, with particular emphasis on drug trafficking regions that have harmful effects on other parts of the United States.

The ONDCP Director designates new HIDTAs in consultation with the Attorney General, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Homeland Security, heads of the National Drug Control Program agencies, and State governors. Funding from HIDTA helps Federal, State, local and tribal law enforcement organizations invest in infrastructure and joint initiatives to dismantle and disrupt drug trafficking organizations. Funds are also used for demand reduction and drug treatment initiatives.

HIDTA-designated counties are present in 45 States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.

Drug Free Communities

The Drug Free Communities Program (DFC) provides grants to community-based coalitions to construct and solidify public-private partnerships and leverage resources to reduce youth substance abuse. Local problems are best addressed with local solutions. Drug Free Community coalitions involve multiple sectors of the community, employ a variety of strategies to address community-specific drug problems, and determine which drug problems should be priorities for short-term and long-term efforts.

Directed by ONDCP and administered in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the DFC program provides grants to local drug-free community coalitions to carry out their important education and prevention work around the Nation.

As these programs have taken steps to include transparency in their core functions and have created opportunities for participation and collaboration, there are still significant opportunities to expand. Outlined below are the actions ONDCP is committed to achieving in order to meet the requirements of the Directive and institutionalize the spirit of the Open Government Initiative.


Transparency promotes accountability and provides information about how ONDCP operates. Providing information and data about the structure, policies, and processes of the Agency will provide partner organizations and the public a better understanding of how the Agency is meeting its mission. Currently, ONDCP is making the following available online for the public:

  • Overview of the authorizing legislation that established and guides the scope of ONDCP activities;
  • Summaries of current and previous years’ budgets, as well as requests for future funding;
  • The current and past year’s National Drug Control Strategy, which outlines program activities and partner agencies; and
  • Biographies for the ONDCP Director and Deputy Directors.

Improving Transparency at ONDCP

To improve transparency, ONDCP intends to make available online:

  • Within three months:
    • An enhanced ONDCP blog with 2-4 posts per week about ongoing activities, data and research, or emerging drug control issues;
    • Information about each of the Agency’s three signature initiatives and why each is important to American citizens;
    • Updated staffing list of Agency leadership, including instructions for how to contact them; and
    • A current organizational chart with descriptions of each of the Agency’s components.
  • Within six months:
    • An interactive calendar of upcoming public briefings, news conferences, and events; and
    • A complete listing of all ONDCP-funded Drug Free Community grantees, including contact information (available in a machine readable format).
  • Within one year:
  • Congressional reports and other progress updates that provide information about ongoing ONDCP activities and programs.

Publishing Agency Data

Publishing data online in easily accessible formats is a cornerstone of the Open Government Directive and a high priority for ONDCP. The key audiences for drug policy-related data are extremely diverse, including Federal, State, and local law enforcement; community prevention organizations; academic and public health associations; drug treatment providers; and policy makers at all levels of government. Given this diversity of stakeholders, ONDCP will actively remain engaged to ensure that public information provided by ONDCP is relevant and timely for policy makers and constituencies.

To date, ONDCP has published the following data sets:

  • Federal Drug Control Budget – Budget Authority by Function, FY 2002 – FY 2010
  • Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Data (ADAM)
  • Drug-Free Communities: FY 2009 New and Continuation Awards (XML)

In addition to these data sets, ONDCP plans to make more high-value data available. ONDCP is in the process of reviewing Agency data and developing lists of data for possible public release.

Beginning in April 2010, a committee of senior ONDCP officials meets monthly to review available data, identify any relevant security concerns, develop processes for converting data into accessible formats, and schedule the release of new data sets. The selection of data for public release will concentrate on information that will increase accountability and openness, improve the public’s knowledge of Agency operations, further ONDCP’s core mission, promote economic opportunity, and respond to a public or partner need.

Publishing Agency data is the focus of the ONDCP’s Open Government Flagship Initiative, as noted in subsequent sections of this report.

Supporting Online Federal Programs

ONDCP supports online Federal programs and is committed to continuing to work collaboratively with its partners and key stakeholders to support transparency and openness. Currently, ONDCP is compliant with the transparency initiative guidelines related to ONDCP does not have contracting activities that are covered under the scope of or activities related to or the IT Dashboard and, thus, is not required to contribute information to these websites.

Addressing Records Management

ONDCP follows all Federal guidelines related to the Records Management Act to ensure the timely transfer of all permanent, valuable records to the control of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The Agency creates a great number of records in a variety of media. Managed by an appointed ONDCP staff member, these records are maintained and stored under a system of records approved by NARA, periodically moved to offsite holding areas, and eventually retired to NARA.

Meeting Our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests

Currently, there is no backlog on FOIA requests for ONDCP. Information about ONDCP’s FOIA program is available online. The ONDCP FOIA website provides instructions for submitting a FOIA request and archives reports from FY 1998 through FY 2009, as well as the 2010 Chief FOIA Officer’s report. ONDCP have several staff dedicated to responding to and analyzing FOIA requests in a timely manner, and the website lists contact information for these individuals, including the Public Liaison, FOIA Requester Center, and Chief FOIA Officer. The section title, “‘ONDCP Reading Room” includes additional applicable policy resources.

Responding to Congressional Requests

The Office of National Drug Control Policy has an Office of Legislative Affairs (OLA) dedicated to building and maintaining positive relations with Members of Congress and their staff. One of OLA’s responsibilities is responding to Congressional inquiries. Calls and emails are returned as soon as practicable. For formal, written correspondence, OLA attempts to respond to Congressional inquiries within ten business days, when possible.

Agency Declassification Programs

Even though ONDCP’s past practices related to declassification demonstrate an existing commitment to transparency, a review of current practices acknowledges room for improvement. To achieve this, ONDCP intends to:

  • Within 3 months:
    • Start providing in writing the ONDCP declassification process to each FOIA requester who is denied access to any records under a FOIA exemption.
  • Within 6 months:
    • Make available online the ONDCP policy for declassifying information.


Active participation from our partners helps to shape the National Drug Control Strategy and implement the activities outlined in the plan. After assuming the position, ONDCP Director Kerlikowske undertook a nine-month consultative effort with Congress, Federal agencies, State and local partners, and hundreds of concerned citizens to encourage participation and get input for the 2010 National Drug Control Strategy. To create a more formal mechanism for providing input to the Agency, the newly-created Office of Intergovernmental and Public Liaison works to build and strengthen external relationships through in-person events, online activities, and the creation of new channels of two-way conversation. Creating and maintaining open dialogues with ONDCP staff, partners, and the public will continue to be a priority for ONDCP.

Roadmap to Improving Participation

To continue to enhance the Agency’s participatory activities, ONDCP is planning a number of new activities to increase the opportunities for participation by partners and the public, which includes making available:

  • Within three months:
    • An online calendar of events and other opportunities to provide feedback on ONDCP’s programs;
    • An online mechanism for providing input on ONDCP activities, which will be prominently featured throughout the Agency’s website; and
    • An online, internal survey of ONDCP staff to evaluate progress and gather input on Agency direction.
  • Within six months:
    • A webpage dedicated to each of the three signature initiatives, where ONDCP will post submissions from ONDCP staff, Federal partners, and public stakeholders related to the topics of drugged driving, prevention, and prescription drug abuse
  • Within one year:
    • A feedback mechanism for gathering public input for the National Drug Control Strategy; and
    • A partnership(s) with online forums regarding substance abuse issues and the creation of specialized resources to serve these communities.
  • Within two years:
    • An online information-sharing platform for building the capacity of grantee organizations.

In addition to these activities, ONDCP will continue to look for new opportunities for participation through its sponsored websites:

  • Of Substance Blog
  • Above the Influence
  • The Anti-Drug and La Anti Droga


Collaboration is the foundation of many ONDCP activities. Each year, the National Drug Control Strategy outlines programs that will be implemented with the leadership and expertise of the Agency’s Federal partners, including:

  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of the Interior
  • Department of Justice
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of State
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of the Treasury
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Small Business Administration

To further this collaboration, ONDCP established an Interagency Working Group on Demand Reduction with participation by leadership from 34 Federal departments and agencies. Five key national priorities for Government action have emerged from this coordinated and collaborative process, forming the foundation for demand reduction activities within the 2010 National Drug Control Strategy.

In addition, through ONDCP’s Drug Free Communities program, more than 700 grantee community organizations coordinate with the Agency and communicate with one another, via the Community Prevention Listerv, for enhanced collaboration. The agency also has a number of formal and information partnerships with non-profit organizations, research and academic institutions, and international partners.

Roadmap to Improving Collaboration

To enhance existing collaborations and develop new relationships, ONDCP intends to:

  • Within three months:
    • Utilize a dedicated channel for interagency communication and enhanced collaborations;
    • Enhance internal ONDCP communications technologies to facilitate greater staff participation in ongoing and planned Agency new media activities; and
    • Continue development and implementation of a robust ONDCP internal communications plan.
  • Within six months:
    • Develop a webpage that centralizes information on upcoming opportunities to collaborate with ONDCP; and
    • Establish a mechanism for soliciting and collecting input about the types of Agency data that should be released to the public for use by partners and interested individuals.
  • Within one year:
    • Develop internal policies for institutionalizing collaboration with ONDCP program activities
  • Within two years:
    • Use online technology to enhance the Interagency Working Group’s collaboration on projects and exchange of information.

Using Technology to Improve Collaborations

New technology and online applications provide a variety of opportunities to build and strengthen collaborations. ONDCP is currently researching new online partnerships that will allow the Agency’s resident expertise to support partner websites’ content and functionality. ONDCP held an internal competition in 2009 to engage staff in the renaming of the ONDCP blog, and research is underway to identify opportunities to further engage external stakeholders.

Flagship Initiative

The ONDCP Open Government Flagship Initiative is a large-scale collaboration and data-publishing project that will provide transparency about Agency data; allow for participation by internal ONDCP programs, Federal partners, and public stakeholders; and facilitate increased collaborations across the government. The Flagship Initiative will establish mechanisms for Federal agencies to centralize drug-related data and statistics, allowing partners and the public easy access to machine-readable data.

Based on a needs assessment conducted by an interagency working group, developing a central resource for drug-related data and statistics would greatly enhance the work done by Federal agencies, subject matter experts, and academic researchers. Through a participatory process, partners and the public will be able to provide feedback, via ONDCP’s website, on the types of data and format that will be most useful. The data from Federal agencies will be provided in an automated, online format to ensure easy updating, maintenance, and continued improvement of individual data sets. The project will be evaluated based on: amount of data provided; number of contributing data sources; percentage of data provided in an easy accessible, machine-readable format; number of comments and level of engagement by partners and members of the public; level of ongoing discussion with the public about improving and/or expanding the project.

Public and Agency Involvement

This plan was developed with internal and external input, and ONDCP is seeking continued feedback for use in updating and strengthening future versions. ONDCP will continue to solicit feedback, and comments are welcome through the ONDCP blog. Regular updates will be made to the plan and updated versions will be posted online as it evolves and is implemented.

Looking Ahead

Addressing the complex issue of drug use and the negative consequences associated with it will require a large-scale, coordinated effort. Only through a continued focus on transparency, participation, and collaboration will ONDCP improve its programs, provide support and expertise to key stakeholders, and adequately respond the needs of communities across the country. This plan outlines a number of crucial steps for adopting the Administration’s principles of openness, and ONDCP is committed to continuing to expand its work in accordance with these values. As achievements are made and revisions are needed, ONDCP will review and revise this plan on a regular basis and post information about the status of the tasks included here on the website: