Capito asks OMB, Mulvaney to protect drug control office budget

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., is urging the Trump administration to not slash the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s budget.

Capito sent a letter Tuesday to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney asking him to reconsider reported cuts to the office, which is focused on combating drug use and trafficking.

The budget would aim to recommend a 95 percent cut to the drug office for the 2018 fiscal year. The office received $388 million in the current fiscal year, but that would be reduced to only $24 million for the next period.

The 2017 fiscal year runs through September.

Capito, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, said she is concerned about intended proposal.

“Our nation is in the grips of an opioid epidemic that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is claiming 91 lives per day,” Capito wrote to Mulvaney.

The senator said the West Virginia had the highest opioid overdose death rate in the nation in 2015. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state’s age-adjusted rate was 41.5 deaths per 100,000 people.

The center said opioids were involved in more than 33,000 people deaths in the year of the study, adding “opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999.”

“Given the national scale of this drug epidemic, the ONDCP’s role in coordinating federal efforts to help combat drug abuse and addiction has never been more important,” Capito said.

In the proposed budget, the High-Intensity Drug Trafficking and the Drug-Free Communities programs would receive no federal funding. Both received $254 million and $100 million respectively in 2017.

“The HIDTA program brings together local police, state officials, and federal agencies to facilitate a regional approach to combating drug trafficking,” Capito said. Twenty counties participate in the program.

On the Drug-Free Communities program, Capito said eight grantees in the state received funding to “support community specific efforts to combat the drug epidemic.”

Capito also said she would lead senators to reject the cuts if they are put before Congress in the 2018 fiscal year budget.

By:  Alex Thomas
Source: Metro News