A number of political and law enforcement leaders are issuing strong words of protest against the potential slashing of funds for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in President Trump's awaited fiscal 2018 budget proposal. Politico reported earlier this month that according to an internal office e-mail and sources, ONDCP's funding would plunge to $24 million in 2018 from $388 million this fiscal year.
The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.), an effort to support local law enforcement agencies in adopting a more treatment-focused approach to local drug problems, announced this week that it had sent a letter to the White House to highlight ONDCP's pivotal coordinating role in the response to the national opioid crisis.
“It is critically important that the president honor his pledge to support law enforcement and fight the opioid epidemic and give people struggling with addiction access to the help they need,” the P.A.A.R.I. letter states.
According to the information obtained by Politico, both ONDCP's Drug-Free Communities Support Program and High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas initiative would receive no funding in the fiscal 2018 budget proposal being considered by the administration. A White House official suggested, however, that it would be premature to make any 2018 budget assumptions given that the process is still in an open discussion stage.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican who has made support for behavioral health issues a signature pursuit on Capitol Hill, said in a statement that ”we should be supporting efforts to reverse this [heroin and prescription drug] tide, not proposing drastic cuts to those who serve on the front lines of this epidemic.”