President Donald Trump's administration will reportedly cut the Office of National Drug Control and Policy budget by 95%, CBS News reported Friday, a move that will nix nearly every function of the office leading the charge against the country's opioid crisis.
"Reports surfaced last week the the White House is proposing slashing funding to the the ONDCP by about 95 percent, according to a lobbyist familiar with the plan". That would all but eliminate the office, which was created in 1989 by President George H.W. Bush.
An internal email sent by Rich Baum, the acting director of the ONDCP, discussed the "heartbreaking" cuts that are planned in the fiscal 2018 budget proposal. The administration's 2018 request clocks in at $24 million, and would entirely eliminate funding for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas and Drug-Free Communities Support Program.
Sununu said programs focusing on high-intensity drug trafficking areas "are absolutely critical to our state and vital to our interdiction efforts".
In a draft version of a budget memo obtained by CBS News on Friday, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) proposed cutting almost half the staff in the "Druz Czar" office in fiscal year 2018 (FY18), as well as a number of grant programs and other agency functions.
Senator Rob Portman, a Republican, said "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".
During the campaign, Trump vowed to combat the nation's growing opioid epidemic, and in March he commissioned a new addiction task force to help combat the opioid crisis, tapping his friend and former rival New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to lead the fight.
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It will draw up a new constitution "so that our people. with their voice can decide the destiny of our homeland", he said . Democracy can not be built to fit the needs of a particular government or otherwise it would cease to be a democracy.
"Throughout the campaign, Trump promised communities ravaged by opioid addiction that he would come to their aid", said Daniel Wessel, spokesman for the Democratic National Committee.
As a candidate, Trump talked regularly about the country's drug addiction problem and said drugs were a reason a wall was needed along the border with Mexico.
The document cited in the reports is a draft White House budget that is subject to change before being formally released later this month.
"When it comes to the opioid epidemic, I think the president has been extremely clear this is a top priority for him", she said.
During the campaign, Trump vowed to combat the nation's growing opioid epidemic, which has ravaged numerous rural areas and small working-class towns where the Republican drew a lot of support. According to a source familiar with the discussions, Baum has been in close contact with Jared Kushner, who heads up the White House Office of American Innovation.
"We want to help those who have become so badly addicted".
The senior administration official pointed to dozens of drug programs across many federal agencies as evidence that the White House is committed to anti-drug efforts, even if the ONDCP loses its ability to issue grants.