Lawmakers warn Trump cuts could worsen opioid crisis

Lawmakers warn Trump cuts could worsen opioid crisis
© Getty Images

Lawmakers from both parties are urging the Trump administration to keep funding the Office of National Drug Control, saying they are “gravely concerned” a pause in funding could exacerbate the opioid crisis. 

On Tuesday, about 70 House members sent a letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney in the wake of a possible proposal to slash the anti-drug office’s budget by 95 percent. 

Created in 1988, ONDCP works to decrease drug usage by advising the president on drug-control issues, coordinating these activities and crafting an annual drug control strategy. 

“The Office and the programs it supports are uniquely positioned to address the causes and effects of the current opioid crisis with proven strategies and broad reach,” the letter states. “For these important programs to remain effective, we believe they must continue to be funded fully and coordinated effectively.” 

The letter was spearheaded by two Democrats and two Republicans — Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), Sander Levin (D-Mich.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.). 

Several Republican and Democratic senators have also urged Mulvaney to keep ONDCP. Earlier this month, Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) — who helms a commission Trump formed to tackle the opioid epidemic — said on Good Morning America he has “good reason to believe” the funding cut isn’t going to happen. 

In recent years, the rates of deaths from prescription painkillers and heroin have skyrocketed. Congress has worked to tackle the issue in a bipartisan way, passing the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act last year with the full support of both parties.