The White House is considering eliminating the Office of National Drug Control Policy, among other programs, the New York Timesreported last week. The move throws into question whether—and how—the Trump administration will address the United States’ opioid epidemic.
The ONDCP is responsible for coordinating federal efforts to reduce drug use in the United States, including everything from drug-ring busts to expanding addiction treatment access. In 2016, it reviewed the drug-control budgets of 38 federal agencies and programs, and itself funded the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, a Drug Enforcement Agency project that concentrates on stopping drug manufacturing and sales in specific counties.
Since its creation in 1988, during the Ronald Reagan administration’s War on Drugs, the office has weathered a series of seriouscritiques. Over time, it has shifted in reputation from a law-and-order agency to one that tries to balance punishment with health care. Although it remains unknown what will replace the office’s functions if it is indeed cut, one thing is clear: It’ll be a shake-up in drug control and addiction treatment in America.