Em­power group to end drug cri­sis

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL -

Forty-five years ago, Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon de­clared drug abuse “pub­lic en­emy num­ber one” and es­tab­lished a White House spe­cial ac­tion of­fice to re­duce ad­dic­tion and re­lated deaths. Pres­i­dent Trump has called drug abuse a na­tional cri­sis and signed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der es­tab­lish­ing the Pres­i­dent’s Com­mis­sion on Com­bat­ing Drug Ad­dic­tion and the Opi­oid Cri­sis. Ac­cord­ing to the com­mis­sion’s chair­man, “to say we have a cri­sis here is an un­der­state­ment” and con­di­tions war­rant dec­la­ra­tion of a state of emer­gency.

Last year be­fore the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, $485 mil­lion was made avail­able to ad­dress the health, so­cial and eco­nomic con­se­quences of the drug cri­sis. Mr. Trump is now call­ing for deep bud­get cuts af­fect­ing the White House Of­fice of Na­tional Drug Con­trol and the U.S. Agency for In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment, in­clud­ing its Mid­dle East Re­gional Co­op­er­a­tion (USAID-MERC) Pro­gram, which ad­dresses the drug prob­lem and other is­sues of con­cern.

The com­mis­sion rec­om­mends bet­ter train­ing for physi­cians who pre­scribe opi­ates; physi­cian-to-pa­tient drug coun­sel­ing; states us­ing Med­i­caid funds for treat­ment; work­ing with the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try to de­velop new drugs to treat ad­dic­tion; data shar­ing among fed­eral and state agen­cies to track opi­ate us­ing pa­tients, and more.

Sadly, drug ad­dic­tion has a long his­tory of be­ing ex­ploited for po­lit­i­cal gain and per­sonal profit. Hope­fully the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s fed­eral bud­get will be an ex­cep­tion in re­sponse to the hu­man suf­fer­ing in­volved.

RICHARD ISRALOWITZ

Pro­fes­sor and di­rec­tor

Re­gional Al­co­hol and Drug Abuse Re­search Cen­ter Ben Gu­rion Uni­ver­sity of the Negev

Beer Sheva, Is­rael

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