Trump Vows To Fight Addiction: Where’s the Money?

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Photo by frankieleon via Flickr

President Trump is vowing to increase federal efforts to confront opioid addiction, as his administration created a commission to study ways to expand treatment programs across the nation, the Baltimore Sun reports. In a meeting with recovering addicts and advocates at the White House, the president said opioid and heroin addiction had become “a crippling problem” and he repeatedly said he was frustrated the issue hadn’t received more attention. “Drug cartels have spread their deadly industry across our nation, and the availability of cheap narcotics, some of it comes in cheaper than candy, has devastated our communities,” said Trump, who raised the issue during his campaign. “Nobody really wants to talk about it.”

Legislation approved by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama last summer created new grant programs for treatment and prevention. Disagreement remains about funding those and other initiatives. Maryland received $10 million for treatment as part of a massive health research law Congress approved last year. Gov. Larry Hogan also has committed to increasing state spending on the problem. Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore’s health commissioner, said, “We need to move beyond rhetoric. We know what works when it comes to treating the disease of addiction. We now need the resources to be able to combat this epidemic.” Democrats remained skeptical of the administration’s commitment, noting that the health care legislation supported by Trump and Republican leaders this month would have eliminated a requirement that Medicaid cover mental health and substance abuse.  New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is expected to head the new commission. Christie attended the White House meeting and described addiction as “a disease that can be treated.”

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