Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly introduced legislation that would require the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to track and evaluate all federally funded efforts to address the opioid epidemic as part of its work to coordinate the National Drug Control Strategy. President Trump’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis called for ONDCP to take on a similar role in its final report issued in late 2017.
Donnelly said, “With the opioid epidemic ravaging Indiana and the country, it’s critical to know which programs are working effectively in fighting the crisis and which aren’t. I introduced this legislation because I believe we should track how federal taxpayer dollars are spent on combating the opioid crisis and focus funding on programs that demonstrate success in helping those who are struggling with opioid and substance use disorder. At the same time, we should also provide the accountability that the public expects from the federal government.”
This bill would require ONDCP to track federally-funded initiatives, including programs and grants, aimed at reducing the use of drugs, including opioids. The bill would also require ONDCP to consult with the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice, and any other agency that has a drug demand reduction program or grant on any existing tracking of these initiatives.
In addition, the bill would result in ONDCP reviewing all federally-funded initiatives aimed at reducing the use of drugs, including a review of the effectiveness of those initiatives, their contribution to activities funded at the state and local level, and whether there are duplication or inefficiencies in the federal demand reduction response that should be addressed.
In March, Donnelly urged the White House to track all federally funded initiatives aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic. Given ONDCP’s mission is to coordinate the development of U.S. drug policy across the Administration, it seems well-suited to carry out the tracking function recommended by the President’s Commission.