by Countable | 11.16.17
The White House is proposing drastic cuts to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). This agency spearheads federal efforts to combat the opioid and heroin epidemic that’s ripping through communities across the nation.
A memo from the Trump Administration, first reported by CBS, calls for slashing the ONDCP budget by 95% – from $388 million this year to $24 million in 2018. The request is alarming lawmakers of both parties on Capitol Hill.
"We can't take our eyes off the ball," said Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio on the Senate floor this week.
“I never expected that at a time when we would have a substantial increase in drug use, in crime, in overdoses, in deaths – which is what we’ve experienced here in this country over the past few years – that we would cut these programs. I just didn’t imagine that.
Another Senator, Democrat Claire McCaskill of Missouri, was a prosecutor in Kansas City in the 1990s and relied on the Office of National Drug Control Policy in her effort to combat the use and trafficking of methamphetamine and crack-cocaine. McCaskill told Countable:
“To me we should be looking at what they’re doing, maybe fine tuning it, maybe making sure that it is relevant to the crisis we’re facing today, but to basically completely un-fund it, doesn’t make any sense”
McCaskill also said the ONDCP was critical in coordinating efforts to combat drug trafficking and gang violence across state lines and around the U.S.
To counteract President Trump's proposal, democrats are rallying around a proposal called The Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act. The bill would not only keep the ONDCP intact, but but expand its mission to going after high intensity drug trafficking. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) told reporters,
“It makes clear to the administration that we will not tolerate reckless cuts that would hurt our ability to support those on the front lines."
Another bill, championed by West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, would make pharmaceutical companies pay 1c per milligram of opioid sold into substance abuse programs.
Democrats in both chambers also point out that the GOP health care proposal, recently passed by the House, would cut funding for low-income families combatting substance abuse.
What do you think of the Office of National Drug Control Policy? How should it be funded? Click Take Action and tell your Reps!
-- Matt Laslo
(Photo Credit: Casey Fleser via Flickr / Creative Commons)
Written by Countable
I've never been addicted to anything unless audiobooks count. My daughter got busted for smoking grass at school so my wife, daughter and I soon reported to Step One a drug counseling non profit as Ordered by the Court. We were embarrassed as were some of the other parents the classes were to last for a number of week. Attendance was mandatory. To my surprise although I knew drug names, the effects and what they looked like I knew really nothing. I didn't know that an addictive drug causes your brain to rewire itself. The more used, the greater the addiction and the more the brain rewires itself to enforce the craving for the drug. At some point the craving becomes the focus of your life, the fix the goal of your existence. You'll steal from anyone, family, friends or strangers to get that fix. Since then some of my daughters friends have died, been incarcerated or just disappeared because of drugs of one type or another. Luckily my daughter did well and this turned out to be just an aberration of her teen years. I believe this program saved my daughter from addiction. She saw what it ment not only emotionally but also intellectually. That's something I could not have provided. The program was sponsored with local and federal funds and I believe provided a service that would not been available to someone in my income bracket. The rich can afford to check into expensive rehab centers but Joe the plumber doesn't have that option. Remove the federal funds from these programs and they will disappear. President Trump won't care because if he ever needs one for his son he'll buy it. Remove the program an the crime rate and drug deaths will sky rocket because addiction is not a simple problem to solve on your own.
I do not support the cuts to this program and suspect they are simply a way of guaranteeing the for profit prison system will remain profitable and full. This is just one more way in which the current legislature is showing how little they care for people trying desperately to turn their lives around.
As a healthcare provider I have seen the success of MAT for individuals with opioid addiction. It works. It needs to be funded. It is the only way to keep people out of prison or eventually from dying of an OD. These are not "druggies" these are your neighbors, successful people that have become addicted and had their lives destroyed. It can happen to anyone. As a provider on the front lines, I see it everyday. Someone goes in for a routine surgery or they fall and get prescribed pain pills at the ER. They have pain so they continue to get them, and they're hooked, they still need them-is it really the pain or is it addiction? It's not because they are bad people, but their body is physiologically addicted and they need help before it spirals into a bigger problem-or by the time I see them, it already has. We need to help people. Funding treatment is a lot cheaper than the ER visits and jail time for crimes associated with addiction.
Are you actually serious? Drug addiction and overdose are pervasive threats to American society that exists at levels; from urban minority youths smoking pot, to college kids abusing ADHD medication and cocaine to study, to rural white middle-class Americans dealing with opioids and heroin. This is an policy area that requires a substantial reframing of how we view the issue. Cutting drug funding is laughably absurd, we should be treating this a public health issue and pushing for widespread use of drug courts, more readily available naltrexone treatments, and understand that so what if someone smokes pot or does a little blow? If they aren't hurting the community, then it isn't our role to tell them they can't live their life how they want. Indeed, the United States should explore a Portugal-style decriminalization.
He just wants to keep the American people dumb, poor, sick, and controllable. I want the American people healthy and empowered.
Totally inappropriate! He campaigned on combatting opioid abuse now he wants to cut funding? He's such a liar. All he did was pander to people, promising them whatever they needed to hear in order to get their votes. Now he's casting them off. I hope the people wake up and make him a one term president.
He'll waste money on a wall to play to his base, but not fund a drug program to protect them? A much larger threat, affecting a much larger portion, of a dwindling base....IDIOT
As a pharmacist, I do not support this. Opioid addiction is a serious problem in this country and we need to get it under control. These programs are so important. Just another example of 45 lying about being "for the people".
Of course he would! Anything that helps people trump is against! The Doctors should monitor medication not trump! Trump can't even monitor the government let along anything else! Trump should be IMPEACHED ASAP!
What better way to fuel mass incarceration?!
Because incarceration would be so much more effective and cheaper than treatment?
Of course he will. Rich people with addiction issues can afford private clinics. It's only the middle class and poor that need help. He is not a leader for the people
Maybe the Republicans are secretly hoping addicts will go away -/ to prison now that Sessions is proposing new sentencing or will just check out of this life. Gotta find the money to give to the wealthy. The poor die so the wealthy can reap the spoils.
ThIs can't be serious?
Of course he does! The opioid trade, both legal and illicit, generates TONS of cash for the 1%. Why do you think we've been meddling in Afghanistan since the eighties 🤣
How could Donald Trump say time & time again he was FOR helping communities deal with the OPIOD & HEROIN crisis and WANT TO CUT THE ONDCP by 95%????? It would be absurd for this program to be defunded!! Perhaps is it time for an investigation into whether Mr. Trump and A.G. Sessions have stock in private prisons since they seem so eager to keep them filled to capacity.
Over and over we keep hearing that drug abuse is a major health problem, if not the major health concern in our country. It is treatable, needs more research into etiology and better treatment. Slashing funding for drug abuse care is kind of like defunding PAP smears or PSA monitoring. What is the President thinking? Did he not get enough of a tax break? Maybe this is another smoke screen to deflect from the "Russian Thing". This administration is not passing the sniff test.
Wow, what a president! When are the house and senate going to step up, be Americans and impeach the most incompetent president in the history of this country?
Please do not allow Pres. Trump to continue to fully fund our opioid addiction treatment programs. 76 Americans a day are dying everyday from opioid overdoses. Addicted Americans deserve our nation's support as the struggle to overcome their addiction and continue to live a drug free lives. Put pressure on the President while there is still time.
I can't believe that we would defund a program leaving so many young lives at risk!