It’s hard to make sense of some of the decisions made at the highest levels of government; which is concerning because now, perhaps more than ever, the country needs coherence. Earlier this week, we covered an alarming announcement from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which intends to slash the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s (ONDCP) budget. Such a proclamation of intent is troubling for the fact that before this day comes to a close, some 100 Americans will perish from an overdose. What’s more, opioid use disorder rates continue to go in one direction, up.
It would be easy to take a partisan approach to this topic, pointing fingers and what have, but it would do little good for the sheer fact that the opioid addiction epidemic is a bipartisan issue. As a society, we must work together to address the severe problem of substance use in this country; breaking the stigma surrounding mental health conditions so that people who need help can access support services. As we mentioned in the last post, the 2019 budget isn’t yet final, according to the OMB.
Every American has a vested interest in the field of addiction medicine, prevention, and treatment; we can use our voices to ensure vital programs, like those at the ONDCP, remain intact. Each of us has someone dear that is living with mental illness, many of us are in recovery for such conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, and use disorders. With that in mind, it is not difficult to see that we all have something at stake concerning the epidemic.
Advocacy Groups Oppose ONDCP Cuts
There are several agencies in the U.S. working tirelessly to prevent substance use, abuse, and addiction: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration(FDA), Department of Health and Human Services (i.e., NIDA and NIAAA), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the ONDCP. Each person, in their way, has a part to play in curbing the most harmful and deadly drug use problem this country has ever faced.
While each agency has specific grant programs under their purview, the ONDCP’s includes Drug-Free Communities (DFC); this is a Federal grant program which funds community-based coalitions in their effort to prevent youth substance use. The proposed 95 percent budget cut ($340 million) would cripple the ONDCP, forcing it to send grant programs out-of-house.
This week, over 150 organizations striving to end the opioid addiction epidemic sent a letter to the White House; they were unequivocally opposing the proposed cuts to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, The Hill reports. Leading the charge is the Addiction Policy Forum, a partnership of organizations raising awareness around addiction; they help to shape policy on prevention, treatment, recovery and criminal justice reform. In the letter the group writes:
“Not only would such a move drastically weaken these vitally important programs, and force them to compete for priority, direction, and funding in larger agencies with competing and higher priorities, but it would significantly impact ONDCP’s ability to effectively carry out its mission.”
“No other agency has this unique responsibility to coordinate efforts across the federal government to execute one shared drug strategy. This oversight is instrumental in eliminating waste and fraud by preventing duplicative programs and strategies among the various federal agencies. Cutting ONDCP’s budget would significantly harm the effectiveness of this unique mission.”
Opioid Addiction Treatment
At Hope by the Sea, we can help you or someone you love, recover from opioid use disorder. Addiction is a treatable mental health condition and a fulfilling life in recovery is more than possible. Please contact us today to begin the life-saving journey of recovery.