The Governor’s Alliance on Substance Abuse (GASA), the predecessor agency to the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP), was originally established in 1987, under the Department of Public Health. In 1990, legislative action removed GASA from Public Health and gave it independent status under the office of the Drug Enforcement and Abuse Prevention Coordinator, which had been part of the Governor’s office. GASA was removed from Public Health and given independent status because the agencies’ overall mission of coordination among several departments and the resources it managed, which called for extensive interaction with the criminal justice/law enforcement system, were not compatible with programming and philosophy under Public Health.
The Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy officially came into existence on July 1, 2000. At that time legislation took effect changing the name of the Governor’s Alliance of Substance Abuse to ODCP and changing the title of the Drug Enforcement and Abuse Prevention Coordinator to the Drug Policy Coordinator. The legislation also combined three councils under the purview of the agency, creating the Drug Policy Advisory Council.
The Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy is the only agency that exists with a central mandate to coordinate and monitor all programs affecting a particular issue in the state. Under Chapter 80E ODCP, in support of the Iowa Drug Policy Coordinator, performs the role of coordinating and monitoring all programs involved with drug enforcement and substance abuse treatment and prevention.
The mission of coordination is primary for ODCP. We are proud of this role and of the accomplishments we have had in fulfilling this mission.
To coordinate and to assure collaboration among agencies and stakeholders, ODCP crosses all agency boundaries and becomes knowledgeable of and involves itself in virtually every program affecting substance abuse and drug trafficking. At the state level, ODCP works on a continuing basis with a core group of departments namely, Corrections, Public Health, Human Services, Public Safety, Education, Human Rights Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning, the Iowa National Guard, and the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, all of which have significant counter drug programs. In addition, ODCP finds and works with other state agencies and non-governmental organizations that have, or are interested in developing, specific programs dealing with these issues.
A second crucial mission for ODCP is to ensure the development of a unified, comprehensive and appropriate drug control policy and strategy for the state.
The Drug Policy Advisory Council, chaired by the Coordinator and staffed by ODCP, serves as both a coordinating body and a venue in which state policy and programs are examined and vetted and, in which state strategy is developed. The Council includes all of the core agencies mentioned above plus representatives from practicing prevention and treatment programs, local law enforcement, the judiciary, and prosecution. Using the Council as a facilitating body, ODCP, in collaboration with all of the stakeholders mentioned, develops Iowa’s Drug Control Strategy. The Strategy serves as the blueprint for Iowa’s fight against drug trafficking and substance abuse. An updated version of this strategy is published and distributed annually as part of the Drug Policy Coordinator's annual report to the Governor and Legislature.
The third main mission of ODCP is to administer federal grants.
These include the Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Grant, the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Grant, Project Safe Neighborhoods, and Drug Endangered Children. These grants are received through the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Dept. of Justice. The largest grant, the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program (JAG), has multiple purpose areas through which grantees can receive funds.
In addition to formula grants, ODCP has increasingly taken on a role of mining other resources during these tight economic times. We have worked successfully with members of Iowa's congressional delegation to secure additional to enhance drug control measures. These funds have been dedicated to fill resource gaps and to initiate innovative programs in enforcement, treatment and prevention. ODCP also provides leadership in forging public-private alliances, such as PDFI-FIT, resulting in millions of dollars in both monetary and in-kind support for anti-drug efforts that would otherwise not be realized.
Perhaps the most important drug law enforcement role ODCP plays, is the support and coordination of multi-jurisdictional drug task forces. Utilizing funds from the JAG grant, ODCP currently supports local drug task forces throughout the state. These task forces, without exception, were formed using ODCP/GASA supplied JAG funds and exist today because of that funding. Most of the task forces have been in existence in excess of ten years. These task forces form the front line and the backbone of drug enforcement in this state. As the funding agency, ODCP monitors and evaluates task force activity as well as plays a central coordination role, both among the task forces and with other drug enforcement entities in the state. This role within law enforcement is unique. Using our position as grantor we are currently undertaking an examination of the task force structure through out the state, with a look toward possible restructuring to better utilize resources, modernize our efforts and ensure enforcement coverage of the entire state.
ODCP has also worked diligently to expand substance abuse prevention initiatives to include innovative new programs that compliment prevention efforts of other departments, as well as address unfulfilled needs at the community level.