Donnelly, Hollingsworth Urge Administration to Utilize Office of National Drug Control Policy to Track Initiatives Aimed at Opioid Epidemic

South Bend Ind. – U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly and U.S. Representative Trey Hollingsworth (IN-09) today urged the White House to utilize the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to track all federally funded initiatives aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic. The proposal was previously included in the report issued by the Administration’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis in November. Under the Commission’s recommendation, ONDCP would coordinate with the Department of Justice and Department of Health and Human Services in this effort.  

Donnelly and Hollingsworth wrote in the letter, in part, “The scourge of the opioid epidemic has ravaged American communities and continues to have a profound impact on the everyday lives of U.S. citizens… We write to follow-up on one of the recommendations proposed by the administration’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. 

“Since its creation as part of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, ONDCP has played a critical part in each administration’s overall drug policy strategy…The Trump administration has emphasized an overall commitment to bureaucratic accountability and transparency. With these goals in mind, we ask whether the administration anticipates directing ONDCP to create a system to track federally-funded opioid initiatives as laid out in the Commission’s final report draft. Tracking how federal taxpayer dollars are spent on this important issue will help the federal government focus funding on programs that demonstrate success in helping Americans who are struggling with opioid and drug addiction, while also providing the accountability that the public demands from its government.” 

Donnelly and Hollingsworth emphasized that given ONDCP’s mission to coordinate the development of U.S. drug policy across the administration, it seems well-suited to carry out the track function recommendation in the Administration’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction report. 

The full text of the letter is below and can be downloaded here.

 

 

March 27, 2018

Honorable John F. Kelly

Chief of Staff

Kellyanne Conway

The White House

 

General Kelly and Ms. Conway,

 

The scourge of the opioid epidemic has ravaged American communities and continues to have a profound impact on the everyday lives of U.S. citizens. We appreciate the Trump administration’s recognition that this is a serious and ongoing concern across the country and deserves to remain in the national spotlight.  

We write to follow-up on one of the recommendations proposed by the administration’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. In its final report draft that was released on November 1, 2017, the Commission made a series of recommendations to combat the addiction crisis, including the establishment of a coordinated system with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) for tracking all federally-funded initiatives aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic.  

Since its creation as part of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, ONDCP has played a critical part in each administration’s overall drug policy strategy. Given its mission to coordinate the development of U.S. drug policy across the administration, ONDCP seems particularly well-suited to carry out the tracking function recommended in the Commission’s report. 

In addition to interest in addressing the opioid epidemic, the Trump administration has emphasized an overall commitment to bureaucratic accountability and transparency. With these goals in mind, we ask whether the administration anticipates directing ONDCP to create a system to track federally-funded opioid initiatives as laid out in the Commission’s final report draft.  

Tracking how federal taxpayer dollars are spent on this important issue will help the federal government focus funding on programs that demonstrate success in helping Americans who are struggling with opioid and drug addiction, while also providing the accountability that the public demands from its government.  

We look forward to continuing to work with the administration to accomplish our shared goal of combating the opioid and drug epidemic ravaging our country.

 

Sincerely,

 

U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly

Congressman Trey Hollingsworth

About Brian Scott

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