In The Middle Of The Worst Drug Epidemic In US History, Trump Does The Unthinkable
As America faces the worst drug addiction crisis in history, the Trump administration is proposing to cut nearly the entire budget for the agency in charge of combating the opioid crisis and other drug epidemics, several news outlets reported Friday.
The president is slashing the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) funding by about 95 percent, effectively kill drug control office, according to a White House official familiar with the plan, Politico reported.
The agency, created in 1988, is charged with advising the president on drug-related issues, coordinating efforts to reduce drug use and creating an annual national drug control strategy.
Acting Director Rich Baum called the proposed cuts “heartbreaking” in a staff email.
The White House called the budget process a “complex one with many moving parts.”
“It would be premature for us to comment — or anyone to report — on any aspect of this ever-changing, internal discussion before the publication of the document,” the White House said in a statement. “The President and his cabinet are working collaboratively to create a leaner, more efficient government that does more with less of tax payers’ hard-earned dollars.”
The rate of overdoses from drugs such as heroin and prescription painkillers has quadrupled since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As The Hill reports, advocates have rallied around the drug office in recent months, with around 200 organizations working on addiction-related issues sending a letter in support of the office after The New York Times wrote a story about its possible elimination.
“At a time when drugs now kill more people than firearms or car crashes, it is more important than ever for ONDCP to remain a strong voice in the White House and a visible presence nationally,” the letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney states.
Republican Senator Rob Portman (Oh.) criticized the proposed cuts.
“We have a heroin and prescription drug crisis in this country and we should be supporting efforts to reverse this tide, not proposing drastic cuts to those who serve on the front lines of this epidemic,” Portman said in a statement.
Addiction Policy Forum president Jessica Nickel blasted the cuts, calling them “troubling.”
“This attempt to undermine the premier agency responsible for carrying out the Administration’s drug policies would undermine the good already accomplished,” Nickel said.
The move follows a disturbing trend in the Trump administration, which is determined to dismantle every federal protection agency aimed to help the poor and the environment.