In your May 25, 2017, article “Programs face steep cuts in Trump budget plan,” Rudy Herndon writes that, “On the upside for the hospital, the president’s budget calls for significant increases in funding for substance abuse treatment and intervention programs. Nationwide, the proposal would allocate $500 million to expand treatment program access for opioid addiction.”
While the budget does increase overall spending on drug treatment by $200 million, that amount includes $500 million added by the 21st Century Cures Act, which was approved by Congress and signed into law by Obama. Without that act, Trump’s budget actually cuts drug treatment spending this year and will almost surely do so in 2018, since Cures Act money runs out next year.
In fact, Trump’s budget slashes drug prevention programs by about 11 percent and proposes an almost 50 percent cut to Medicaid over the next decade. Medicaid currently pays for a quarter of public and private spending for drug treatment ($8 out of $31 billion). What’s more, the budget would cut nearly $400 million to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, hundreds of millions from mental health block grants, and billions from the NIH, CDC and FDA, all of which run programs trying to address drug addiction.
The Obama administration came too late with too little to the opioid epidemic, but it appears that Trump, rather than keeping his campaign promise of solving the crisis, is probably going to make it worse.