WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) met with Jim Carroll, the Acting Director and President Trump’s nominee to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the office in charge of combating the national opioid epidemic. During the meeting, Sen. Warner and Acting Director Carroll discussed the importance of expanding substance abuse treatment programs for rural communities in Virginia that have been hit the hardest by the opioid epidemic.
“There are too many families in Virginia that have been devastated by the opioid epidemic. I appreciate the opportunity to hear how Acting Director Carroll plans to spearhead one of the Administration’s most critical offices to combat this national health crisis,” said Sen. Warner. “While I remain deeply concerned about the Trump Administration’s proposed steep cuts to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, I will closely monitor Acting Director Carroll’s nomination process to ensure he is the right candidate to tackle the national crisis on our hands.”
More Virginians died of opioid overdoses in 2017 than in any year in at least the past decade. In just five years, Virginia went from 572 annual opioid-related overdose deaths to 1,227 deaths due to overdoses. The ONDCP plays a significant role in the Administration’s effort to combat the national opioid crisis. The office is tasked with leading and coordinating the development, implementation and assessment of U.S. drug policy. It administers the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas and Drug-Free Communities grants and oversees the drug control activities of 16 federal agencies.
In his FY19 budget, President Trump proposed cutting 95 percent of ONDCP’s funding, which will force the office to shift its two main grant programs to the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS). The shift could pose negative consequences on the overall effectiveness of the programs in tackling the opioid epidemic.
In February 2018, Trump nominated Carroll to serve as the Director of ONDCP. Prior to his nomination, Carroll was tapped as the Acting Director for ONDCP and served as the Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff to John Kelly. On Thursday, July 11, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Carroll’s nomination.