Trump’s Drug Abuse Commission Will Miss Another Deadline

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

The White House commission created to tackle America’s opioid epidemic will miss a July 17 deadline to release details of their plan to combat the crisis.

President Donald Trump created the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis through an executive order March 29, and tapped New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to lead the efforts. The executive order required interim recommendations for addressing opioid addiction within 90 days of creation and a final plan of action by Oct. 1, reports CBS News.

Christie and the commission already missed the first deadline for an interim report June 27, pushing the date back to July 17. A notice from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy dated July 11 reveals the commission will miss the extended deadline, pushing their interim assessment further back. An update from the commission is now expected during a conference call July 31.

Christie’s office has not issued a statement on the cause of the delay. Bertha Madras, a former deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy serving on the opioid commission, said the delay is “trivial compared to the magnitude of the problems and types of solutions needed to formulate an effective response,” according to CBS News.

Madras, Christie and fellow GOP Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts are working with North Caroline Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and former Rhode Island Democratic Rep. Patrick Kennedy to address the addiction crisis.

Voters who Trump wooed with promises to tackle opioid abuse and addiction head on recently said they “feel betrayed” by his lack of action.

A pledge to help those struggling with addiction reform their lives proved to be key in convincing lifelong Democrats in states hit hard by the opioid epidemic to cast their ballots for Trump. Trump outperformed his rival Republican candidates with rural voters in areas hit particularly hard by addiction and won 18 of the 25 states with the highest rates of overdose deaths in the election.

Some addiction advocates criticize the commission for not doing enough to urgently address rising overdose deaths from painkillers and heroin in their states.

STAT predicts the annual death toll from opioids will rise by roughly 35 percent between 2015 and 2027. Their analysis predicts up to 500,000 people could die from opioids over the next decade. The experts agree, even in a best-case scenario, the crisis will not visibly start to subside until after 2020.

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