US Despite opioid 'emergency,' drug office dwindles under Trump

17:34  06 february  2018
17:34  06 february  2018 Source:   nydailynews.com

Hospitals cut back on opioids to battle addiction epidemic

  Hospitals cut back on opioids to battle addiction epidemic <p>Zulidany Cortez came to the emergency room at Amita Health Adventist Medical Center Bolingbrook when she could no longer take the pain from a wrist she hurt moving furniture.</p>In years past, doctors likely would have given the 32-year-old a prescription for an opioid painkiller to swiftly curb her suffering. But when Cortez met with Dr. Mark Livak, the subject didn't even come up.

President Trump ’s drug control office has dwindled and could be crushed further by a lack of funding despite the administration's pledges to combat the opioid epidemic. A group that included nine political appointees a year ago has been cut to a third of that

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The opioid epidemic leads to roughly 175 overdose deaths a day, according to the White House. © Patrick Sison/AP The opioid epidemic leads to roughly 175 overdose deaths a day, according to the White House. President Trump’s drug control office has dwindled and could be crushed further by a lack of funding despite the administration's pledges to combat the opioid epidemic.

A group that included nine political appointees a year ago has been cut to a third of that size, according to a Political report that said the White House's drug initiatives “look more like a war on his drug policy office.”

Trump declared opioids a “health emergency” in October as figures revealed the drugs kill 175 people by overdose each day, though the President has been criticized for showing little leadership or concrete action on the crisis.

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  Alex Azar sworn in as secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar (AY'-zahr) has been sworn in as President Donald Trump's second health secretary.The former drug company executive and official in George W. Bush's administration succeeds former Republican Georgia congressman Tom Price, who resigned last fall following an outcry over his use of costly private charter aircraft for official travel.

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He signed a bill last month to give better opioid screening technology to agents at the country’s borders, which have been a frequent focus of Trump’s drug rhetoric as well as his stances on immigration.

The White House also announced last month that Taylor Weyeneth, who was deputy chief of staff at the Office of National Drug Control Policy, would leave after reports that the recent St. John's University graduate had no relevant experience and falsely indicated that he had a master’s degree.

Beyond the scandal surrounding someone in their early 20s receiving a key role in fighting the widespread abuse of prescription drugs, sources told Politico that the ONDCP’s acting director has also been excluded from meetings about the crisis held by Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.

Trump is also expected to propose large cuts to the office's budget, which comes as the cabinet led by Conway is taking on the ONDCP’s traditional role of coordinating policy between agencies — a duty it has carried out since the late 1980s.

Conway’s group has been criticized for a lack of expertise on drug policy and a lack of action, and Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia — whose states are both struggling from opioid abuse — told Politico Conway's group has yet to start coordinating programs.

Trump proposed a similar cut to ONDCP funds last year before backing off the plan amid opposition.

Trump budget to include billions to combat opioid epidemic .
President Trump's budget will propose billions of dollars to combat the opioid epidemic plaguing the country, months after the administration designated the crisis a national public health emergency.The White House's fiscal 2019 budget set to be released Monday will include nearly $17 billion for the opioid epidemic that's killinThe White House's fiscal 2019 budget set to be released Monday will include nearly $17 billion for the opioid epidemic that's killing more Americans per year than car accidents, according to an outline from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

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