Budget Cuts at the Office of National Drug Control Policy Proposed

National recognition of the urgency of the opiate crisis has brought a myriad of benefits to the country as a whole. When more citizens are informed of the risks of opiate misuse, of the possibility for and pathways to recovery, the stigma that sometimes acts as a barrier to treatment is reduced. When more people with substance use disorders seek and succeed in finding treatment, the fiscal benefits extend beyond the personal or the local, into the entire country, as insurance costs are lowered, some crimes rates see drops, fewer children end up in the foster care system, and more healthy, active citizens are able to join the workforce.

When Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in November that an Opiate Czar had been appointed to lead the country’s fight for against opiate misuse, many in the recovery community saw this as solid evidence of the administration’s commitment to help people with substance use disorders.  However, two short months later, another move has undermined that hope and confidence.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy, while not directly active in providing services to assist people seeking recovery from substance abuse, sets policy, prioritization, and goals for how funds should be routed from the Federal level to the state and local levels to combat illicit drug use and abuse.  Historically, the Office of NDCP has been successful with its programs combating drug trafficking, youth anti-drug campaigns working with Partnership for a Drug-Free America, and sports Anti-Doping programs. The proposed cut to the budget would be in the range of 95% budget reduction, effectively gutting one of the county’s leading anti-drug advocate programs.  The explanation provided centered on cost savings of $340 million per year.

The lack of a unified vision for how the country is to combat drug misuse and abuse will reduce interagency cooperation and efficiency in alarming ways for years to come. These cuts have only been proposed, rather than summarily executed. If enough public pressure is exerted, through petitions and contact with local representatives, the cuts could be forestalled. One way to make your voice heard is to reach out to your congressmen and women to let them know that the country’s response to the opiate crisis is important to you, as is the ability for any person with a substance use disorder to access effective treatment.

The Federal Government isn’t the only source for action combating drug abuse. There are large and small organizations, like the Ammon Foundation, in every state dedicating resources to helping the community live drug-free.  To learn more about the Ammon Foundation and our programs to help people thrive in recovery, please email info@ammonfoundation.org.