The Trump Administration’s Response to the Opioid Epidemic

In October 2017, President Trump declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency — but beyond that initial announcement, the administration has done relatively little to actually address the epidemic. Key jobs at the Office of National Drug Control Policy have gone unfilled, and the White House has not moved to allocate the funds that would be needed to make a difference.

BACKGROUND

On Oct. 26, 2017, Trump directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency. The emergency declaration included a call for increased use of telemedicine to allow doctors to remotely treat patients who live in rural or hard-to-reach areas, a policy change that would require action by the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Months later, news reports suggested that little action had actually been taken to address the opioid crisis and no policies had been implemented to ease barriers to substance abuse treatment by telemedicine. In September 2019, nearly two years after declaring a state of emergency, the Trump administration committed $1.8 billion in grants to tackle the opioid crisis. 

This action comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported record increases in deaths involving opioids. In January 2019, the National Safety Council found that for the first time in American history, the odds of dying by opioid overdose were greater than by a car accident. American Oversight has opened an investigation to better understand what steps the Trump administration is taking to address this issue.

Related Documents

November 5, 2019

No Records Response from SAMHSA Regarding Communications with Cove Strategies

Department of Health and Human Services, HHS - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Agency Reply
August 28, 2019

Records Regarding Communications with DEA on the Opioid Crisis

Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration
Agency Record
August 20, 2019

No Records Response from CDC Regarding Communications Between Pain Management Task Force Members and Drug Companies

Department of Health and Human Services, HHS - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Agency Reply
August 8, 2019

No Records Response from the Office of National Drug Control Policy of Communications with Matthew Schlapp or Cove Strategies on Trade and Health Issues

Office of National Drug Control Policy
Agency Reply
July 16, 2019

ONDCP Records Regarding the Opioid Crisis During 2017

Office of National Drug Control Policy
Agency Record
October 9, 2018

Rejection from DOJ Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys Regarding Communications with Rudy Giuliani about Opioids

Department of Justice
Agency Reply
August 24, 2018

FOIA to FDA Seeking Communications with Giuliani Regarding Opioids

HHS - Food and Drug Administration
FOIA Request
August 24, 2018

FOIA to DEA Seeking Communications With Giuliani Regarding Opioids

Drug Enforcement Administration
FOIA Request
August 24, 2018

FOIA to DOJ Regarding For Communications with Giuliani Regarding Opioids

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
April 5, 2018

No Records Response From ONDCP Regarding Opioids

Office of National Drug Control Policy
Agency Reply
March 23, 2018

No Records Response From HHS Regarding Responses to the Opioid Epidemic

Department of Health and Human Services
Agency Reply
March 12, 2018

FOIA to FDA Seeking Communications with the Opioid Industry

Department of Health and Human Services
FOIA Request
March 12, 2018

FOIA to ONDCP Seeking Communications with the Opioid Industry

Office of National Drug Control Policy
FOIA Request
February 16, 2018

FOIA to ONDCP Seeking Communications with Conway

Office of National Drug Control Policy
FOIA Request
February 16, 2018

FOIA to ONDCP Seeking Communications with Kellyanne Conway

Office of National Drug Control Policy
FOIA Request
February 16, 2018

FOIA to ONDCP Seeking Communications Regarding the Opioid Crisis

Office of National Drug Control Policy
FOIA Request
February 16, 2018

FOIA Seeking Communications Between HHS and Kellyanne Conway

Department of Health and Human Services
FOIA Request
February 16, 2018

FOIA Regarding HHS’s Response to the Opioid Crisis

Department of Health and Human Services
FOIA Request
February 16, 2018

FOIA to HHS Seeking Communications About Substance Abuse Treatment

Department of Health and Human Services
FOIA Request
February 16, 2018

FOIA to HHS Regarding Efforts to Allow Remote Prescribing

Department of Health and Human Services
FOIA Request
February 16, 2018

FOIA Seeking Appointments and Resumes at HHS

Department of Health and Human Services
FOIA Request
February 16, 2018

FOIA to HHS Seeking Records Related to Funds to Address Opioid Crisis

Department of Health and Human Services
FOIA Request
February 16, 2018

FOIA to DOJ Seeking Communications with DEA Regarding the Opioid Crisis

Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration
FOIA Request
February 16, 2018

FOIA to DOJ/DEA Regarding the Opioid Crisis

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
February 16, 2018

FOIA to DOJ Seeking Communications with HHS Regarding the Opioid Epidemic

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
February 16, 2018

FOIA to DOJ Seeking Records Related to the AG’s Response to the Opioid Epidemic

Department of Justice
FOIA Request