White House Budget Proposes More Funding for Law Enforcement Than Treatment

Press Release May 22, 2017
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<p>Tony Newman 646-335-5384<br />
Grant Smith 202-669-6573&nbsp;</p>

President Trump’s FY 2018 budget, released today, proposes to boost funding for the Drug Enforcement Administration and other law enforcement while proposing dramatic cuts to Medicaid that has extended access to opioid treatment for millions of people impacted by the opioid crisis, as well as cuts 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 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.  The budget released today also confirmed that the White House has dropped plans to cut the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s budget by nearly 95%.

Below is a statement by Michael Collins, deputy director of national affairs with the Drug Policy Alliance on the White House budget:  

“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. 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 or demand for drugs and only makes drug-related problems worse. 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.”

Below is a statement by Grant Smith, deputy director of national affairs with the Drug Policy Alliance on the White House’s reversal of plans to cut ONDCP:

“Since its inception in 1988, ONDCP’s primary mission has been the prosecution of the war on drugs. 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. 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. Those who fought hard to preserve ONDCP need to be vigilant that the agency doesn’t revert to prioritizing enforcement-driven strategies that will only undermine efforts to treat people who struggle with addiction.”

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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