Trump gave promises to the Rust Belt, and in return the Rust Belt gave Trump the presidency. One of his chief promises was that he would take action to stop the opioid epidemic that is sweeping not only the Rust Belt states, but much of America. Nobody who has been paying attention to the new president should be surprised to learn that Politico is reporting not only is Trump refusing to solve the drug problem, he plans to worsen it.
The president’s new budget would cut 95% of the funding for the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The ONDCP is the only agency responsible for stopping drug epidemics.
“These drastic proposed cuts are frankly heartbreaking and, if carried out, would cause us to lose many good people who contribute greatly to ONDCP’s mission and core activities,” Richard Baum, director of the ONDCP said.
In 2017 the office received $388 million. Clearly, this wasn’t a large enough budget to adequately stymy the opioid epidemic. If you believed Trump’s campaign rhetoric, you’d presume increasing the ONDCP would be one of his priorities. Instead, the pathological liar has elected to slash the budget down to $24 million. Trump’s modus operandi has become apparent in recent months. Once he has your votes, he doesn’t care if you succeed or fail, live or die.
The Center for Disease Control reports that overdose deaths from opioids have quadrupled since 1999. Every day, 91 Americans die from from opioids. The problem is devastating impoverished areas in particular, exacerbating their already difficult economic situations. Many drug users start out using pills, such as Oxycontin, then switch to heroine due to its abundance and cheaper price.
America has long had a serious problem with the way it tackles drugs. Rather than prosecuting addicts, we should be working to rehabilitate them and get them the medical and psychological help they need. Without the ONDCP, that will become near impossible.
There is still a chance that Congress will refuse the budget cut, but judging from their decision to force through the atrocious Trumpcare bill yesterday, it seems foolish to expect any kind of moral strength from them.
Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.