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Opioid News Roundup for February

Which American City Will Be the First To Cut the Ribbon On a Sanctioned Safer Injection Facility?

San Francisco's Health Commission voted unanimously February 6 to approve a resolution supporting supervised injection services, and Health Director Barbara Garcia said the first two sites could open as soon as July 1, 2018. The announcement came on the heels of the City of Philadelphia’s green-lighting of a safer injection facility. Unsurprisingly, the Trump administration said it may take legal action against safer injection facilities. Read more about the cities’ readiness for a legal battle in Buzzfeed.

New Drug Czar Nomination and a 95% Budget Cut at the Office of National Drug Control Policy

As expected – and for the second time – the Trump administration has proposed near elimination of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). In the budget proposal released this week, only $17 million was requested for ONDCP, down from $368.6 million in the 2018 budget request, and its High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas grant would shift to the Justice Department, and Drug Free Communities Act to HHS.

Last Friday Jim Carroll, who briefly served as deputy to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, was nominated to lead the ONDCP as the nation’s drug czar. Carroll has no public health experience and, prior to occupying several positions in the Trump administration, most recently spent a decade as a lawyer at the Ford Motor Company, raising concerns that, like other Trump officials, he may have been selected in part to try to eliminate the office he would run. In an article written for Politico Pro on the nomination, an unnamed senior administration official believes that Carroll has been sent to run ONDCP, “because [Chief of Staff] Kelly was disappointed in his performance as deputy.” Hardly a ringing endorsement of Carroll’s qualifications.

While the Trump administration seeks to dismantle the federal office most responsible for coordinating the response of public health officials and law enforcement agencies to the opioid crisis, the New York Times convened 30 experts from both fields to imagine how they would address it. The resulting article is fascinating for the diversity of opinion, but one thing the experts share in common is none think the U.S. should build a wall on the Mexican border to keep drugs out.

Opioid Crisis Response Funding

The billions of dollars proposed in both the Bipartisan Budget Deal and the President’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget for addressing the opioid crisis lack an infectious disease component. AIDS United joined NASTAD and the AIDS Institute in a letter that calls on Congressional leaders to ensure at least $100 million is allocated toward the department of viral hepatitis. AIDS United urges your organization to sign-on too!

Posted By: AIDS United, Policy Department - Friday, February 16, 2018

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