Trump Also Reverses Plan to Slash Funding for Drug Czar’s Office
Advocates: White House Budget Further Confirmation that Trump Administration Escalating the War on Drugs
Donald Trump’s FY 2018 budget, released on Tuesday, proposes to boost funding for the Drug Enforcement Administration and other law enforcement. It also proposes dramatic cuts to Medicaid. Medicaid has extended access to opioid treatment for millions of people impacted by the crisis of addiction and overdoses.
Trump’s budget also cuts funds to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the federal agency chiefly responsible for administering federal treatment grants. In a press release, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) highlighted that the Trump Administration’s FY 2018 budget proposes $15.6 billion for law enforcement and interdiction but only $12.1 billion for treatment and prevention.
ONDCP Keeps Funding Under Trump Budget
The budget released on Tuesday also confirmed that the White House has dropped plans to cut the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s budget by nearly 95 percent.
The few remaining cannabis activists who were still clueless enough to remain faithful to their Big Orange Hero had pathetically seized upon this as some sort of feeble sign of hope, and now, that’s gone, too.
‘Major Step Backward’
“Trump’s budget puts law enforcement ahead of treatment and public health at a time when there is broad political consensus that drugs should be treated as a health issue,” said Michael Collins, deputy director of national affairs with the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “This budget represents a major step backward in the fight to end the opioid crisis.
“Nearly five decades of a war on drugs has shown that throwing money at drug law enforcement fails to reduce neither supply nor demand for drugs and only makes drug-related problems worse,” Collins said. “Trump’s budget is the latest confirmation that this White House is engaging in a reckless escalation of the war on drugs, a losing proposition that is intensely unpopular with the public, and a tremendous waste of tax dollars that will needlessly drive up mass incarceration and put at risk the lives of people who struggle with addiction.”
Grant Smith, deputy director of national affairs at the DPA, said the White House’s reversal of initial plans to cut funds to the ONDCP amounted to an escalation of the White House’s quixotic Drug War.
“Since its inception in 1988, ONDCP’s primary mission has been the prosecution of the war on drugs,” Smith said. “For decades, the agency prioritized hardline tactics by law enforcement that treated addiction as a crime.
“In the 1990s and 2000s, ONDCP was so obsessed with marijuana enforcement that it largely ignored early signs of the opioid crisis until it became a full blown public health catastrophe,” Smith rightly pointed out. “Trump’s proposed budget is the clearest indication yet that ONDCP will be tasked with administering the Trump administration’s escalation of the war on drugs.”
The NAACP was no more enthusiastic than was the DPA regarding the proposed fiscal year 2018 budget from Trump.“President Trump’s budget proposal in every way possible seeks to cloak a shift of the nation’s resources away from America’s most vulnerable communities and toward unfair tax breaks for the wealthy and major corporations, the organization’s prepared statement reads. “His budget compounds its animosity toward vulnerable and communities of color by defunding civil rights enforcement.”
“Great nations are known by how they care for the old and the vulnerable, not by how much they can take away from them to give to their wealthy friends,” said NAACP Chairman Leon W. Russell.
“I am not sure what is more insidious – regurgitating the sham of old trickle-down theories of economics, or purposely refusing to adequately fund civil rights positions necessary to protect individuals from voter suppression, job discrimination or police brutality,” Russell said.