White House proposes cutting drug control office funding by $364M as opioid overdose deaths in NYC soar

NEW YORK — While New York City and the state  are investing heavily in squashing the opioid epidemic, the White House has proposed cutting almost the entire budget of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The Trump Administration plans to slash 95 percent of the organization’s budget. The plan seems at odds with previous actions by President Donald Trump, including the creation of a commission designed to address the country’s opioid crisis.

That crisis has been felt in New York City where more New Yorkers died from opioid overdoses in 2016 than from car accidents and homicides combined. Statewide, the number of opioid deaths in 2015 doubled compared to the number in 2010.

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called the budget plan the most destructive contribution Trump has made to the fight against the opioid and heroin epidemic.

“[It] would effectively kick Americans seeking treatment to the curb and make our communities less safe,” Schumer said.

Trump regularly brings up the drug crisis in relation to his planned wall with Mexico. He believes a border wall will halt the flow of drugs into the country.

“The Wall is a very important tool in stopping drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth (and many others),” he tweeted.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy, which received $388 million in 2017 and would receive only $24 million under Trump’s proposal, administers the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program. It helps law enforcement in critical drug-trafficking regions.

Many lawmakers – both Democrats and Republicans – support the program and are not likely to support a the proposed budget cut to the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

“Senate Democrats will never vote to defund these vital programs, and I know there are many colleagues across the aisle who feel likewise,” Schumer said.

Resources for getting help with opioid addiction are also available. Click this link for information