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Since running for president and being elected, Trump has made numerous promises to combine all possible efforts into overcoming the Opioid Epidemic. Whether it be his Opioid Commission or efforts pushed by the Government on his behalf- Trump has made it appear as if he has a genuine interest in joining the fight.

Since his election, however, efforts actually enacted by the president have been minimal, and people are starting to wonder if his words and speeches were just empty promises. As of late, Trump is proposing a massive cut in the Drug Office budget. This cut would result in a 350 million dollar loss to the commission- almost 95% of their total budget.

The Role of the Drug Control Policy Office

It’s difficult to tell what players in the opioid control area have a large impact due to the large volume of individual participants. The Drug Control Policy Office, however, is not one to be looked over. The Office of the National Drug Control Policy is the leader in regulating the federal response to the Opioid Epidemic. They decide what money goes where, how funds are used to treat and prevent, and participate in lawmaking and regulation of controlled substances.

In short, these are the big guys, and Trump’s proposed budget cut suggests a lack of interest in fighting the epidemic at all. If the budget goes through, opioid regulation will be left largely in the hands of nonprofits, volunteers, and independent fundraisers. These are all important aspects of the fight against opioids- but they cant make a difference nearly as large as a federally funded commission could.

The Office of the National Drug Control Policy was intended too, and has in the past, been the biggest support system to the fight against the opioid epidemic. The money they are funded has gone to clinics for treatment and prevention, safety control, special EMT groups, educational resources, and more. Trump’s suggestion to cut the budget makes no sense in the grand scheme of his “efforts” to fight the epidemic.

His Reasoning Behind The Cut

Mr. Trump and his supporting White House representatives have publicly discussed that their image for the future of drug control will be mainly in the control of multiple smaller commissions,  each dedicated to a certain issue (prevention, treatment, etc.). The budget cut will only affect the larger O.N.D.C.P. and in doing so- those smaller groups will grow separately.

Mr. Trump and his representatives are sticking to their previous image of being strong reps for the opioid epidemic fight. He has also made claims that the drug policies themselves aren’t the biggest attribute to the epidemic and that other areas will take of the funding issues people are worried about.

Some people are saying that the changes to the budget could actually prove as helpful. The drug abuse issue in the United States has gotten so bad that many experts are saying it should be treated as a criminal justice issue instead of a public health issue. Statistics of crime rates in association with drugs would support this theory- but it would ride heavily against the notion of drug addiction being a disease.

“The reality is that O.N.D.C.P. is an agency in dire need of reform,” said Grant Smith, deputy director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, who said that the grant programs being cut “are a phenomenal waste of money that contribute to the incarceration and stigmatization of drug users.” It’s clear some people are on board with Trump and believe the epidemic needs to have a newly revamped protection program that deals with drug abuse directly. Others – mostly Democrats, but some Republicans, feel betrayed by the proposed budget cut.

Their view suggests a broken promise by Trump and the feeling of giving up. Trump, however, is sticking to his vision.“We’re going to take all of these kids — and people, not just kids — that are totally addicted and they can’t break it,” Mr. Trump said in Ohio last year. “We’re going to work with them, we’re going to spend the money, we’re going to get that habit broken.”

Where Will The Money Go?

So if this 350 some million dollars is no longer going to the opioid epidemic, where is it going to go? You guessed it- the military. It should come as no shock that Trump wants to invest the extra money into the military forces and those who govern it. He has after all basically run and won his campaign with this being his number one importance.

If the epidemic is turned over to a public safety (criminal justice) issue as opposed to the current public health stance- the money could technically be going towards opioid protection just in the hands of the military. It’s too early to know or say how it will be handled, but for now, we know the commission that so many have been relying on for hope in the ending of drug abuse is going to be cut- majorly.

Is The Epidemic Affecting You?

Are you or a loved one part of the ever-increasing statistic of those who are struggling to overcome drug abuse? At rise- we know each individual is more than just a number. We know how to individualize treatment plans so that everyone has the best care and chance of overcoming their addiction. If you or someone you love is trying to start their journey to recovery – Call Rise today. Be more than just a number- recovery is possible.

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