Democrats Ask Drug Policy Office to Do More to Combat Opioid Epidemic

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Twenty Democratic senators are asking the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to do more to combat the opioid epidemic, according to the Associated Press. In a letter to ONDCP Acting Director Richard Baum, the senators urged the Trump Administration to implement recommendations made by former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. The senators criticized an administration budget proposal that would cut almost $400 million from drug and mental health programs. They also voiced opposition to the Department of Justice’s increasing insistence on treating drug addiction as a criminal justice issue. The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, chaired by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, recently pushed back its deadline to release a report. It was the second such delay for the commission. Senators who signed the letter included Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker.
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Leaked E-mail Indicates White House Proposes Slashing Drug Policy Office Budget

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The White House is proposing a cut of 94 percent to the budget of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), according to an e-mail to agency employees by Acting Director Richard Baum. He asked employees not to share the information, but the e-mail was quickly leaked, NPR reports. The proposed budget fully eliminates several programs involved in fighting the opioid epidemic, the article notes. Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, who co-sponsored the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which was signed by President Obama last year, sent a letter to Office of Management & Budget Director Mick Mulvaney urging the Trump Administration to reconsider cuts to the ONDCP. “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,” he said in a statement....
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Repealing ACA Would Hurt Efforts to Combat Opioid Crisis: Botticelli

Repealing ACA Would Hurt Efforts to Combat Opioid Crisis: Botticelli
Repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would roll back any progress made against combating the nation’s opioid crisis, according to Michael Botticelli, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) under President Obama. While he headed ONDCP, Botticelli argued that the opioid epidemic should be dealt with through treatment, not arrests, The Huffington Post reports. “I think there is a tremendous amount of fear that we are going to retreat from all of the science and evidence that we know to be true about addiction,” Botticelli told The Huffington Post shortly before his last day at ONDCP. “Our response to this opioid epidemic has largely been focusing on ‘How do we narrow that treatment gap?’” he said. “And certainly one of the biggest contributors to narrowing that treatment gap is making sure that people get insurance coverage and have adequate insurance coverage for substance use disorders......
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