A few months ago, USA Today ran a damning report titled: “U.S. deaths from alcohol, drugs
In the USA Today report, Health Policy Reporter, Jayne O’Donnell, takes a comprehensive look at what is driving avoidable deaths in this country and provides some solutions that can help curb the trend. The most recent data from 2017 revealed that the number of deaths from alcohol, drugs
One “take away” that I saw was that not enough is being done on a national or governmental level to prevent these deaths. Jayne O’Donnell quoted Psychologist Benjamin Miller, chief strategy officer of the Well Being Trust, as saying broader efforts are needed to address the underlying causes of alcohol and drug use and suicide. “It’s almost a joke how simple we’re trying to make these issues,” he says. “We’re not changing direction, and it’s getting worse.”
I found these sentiments concerning as they come in the wake of a government drug policy overview titled: ‘the National Drug Control Strategy’ and published on the letterhead of The Executive Office of the President of the United States
Carroll’s background has many in the addiction treatment field in an uproar. He is a bit of a political animal, in that prior to working as the White House deputy chief of staff, he held a similar position in George W. Bush’s administration. After nearly three months working at this post for the current administration, Carroll was appointed by the President on February 9,
Upon Carroll’s confirmation, the White House unequivocally reaffirmed their intention to fight the opioid crisis and drug addiction, stating that it’s a priority for this administration. White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that: “We have full confidence in Jim to lead ONDCP to make significant strides in combating the opioid crisis, reducing drug use, and coordinating US drug policy.”
All of these affirmations didn’t make much of a believer out of Psychologist Benjamin Miller, and a whole lot of other addiction treatment professionals. I suppose no one should be surprised that Carroll’s first attempt at providing a comprehensive drug policy – the National Drug Control Strategy – left many professionals underwhelmed.
The strategy outlined in this policy piece is focused on achieving one overarching strategic objective: ‘Building a stronger, healthier, drug free society today and in the years to come by drastically reducing the number of Americans losing their lives to drug addiction in today’s crisis, and preparing now to dominate the drug environment of the future. This will be done by preventing initiates to drug use, providing treatment services leading to long-term recovery for those suffering from addiction, and aggressively reducing the availability of illicit drugs in America’s communities.
This is a pretty heady statement that appears on the second page of the report. Sadly, it’s nothing more than repackaged political platitudes intended to make you think something is being accomplished in effectively combating drug addiction when in reality there is no viable direction or action to resolve this issue whatsoever.
I’m not the only one to think this. One lawmaker said the report was “a 23-page pamphlet. It fails to meet even the most basic requirements in the law.” ABC News reported that the new strategy, overseen by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, was analyzed by the Government Accountability Office, which found that the efforts lack quantifiable and measurable objectives
Perhaps the most critical critique of Carroll’s policies came from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). After careful review, Triana McNeil, the GAO’s acting director of strategic issues, testified to the House Oversight Committee that Carroll’s report is “completely void of any performance measurement system. How can ONDCP track its own progress,” she asked. “How can ONDCP be held accountable, without this critical system in place?”
It’s politicos like Carroll that lead me to question our government’s resolve to end this drug crisis. I’m sure Carroll is a fine person, but he is uniquely unqualified for a position that can mean the difference between life and death
What I find truly amazing is that we’ve learned nothing from our past drug epidemic. Most people are not aware that in the late
Recognizing the dangers these drugs presented to Americans,
The biggest challenge confronting Dr. Wright is identical to the issues we face today – politicians’ aversion to regulating commerce. No politician wants to be perceived as a detriment to business; apparently even at the expense of their own constituents’ lives.
In 2017, over 73,000 people died an avoidable death at the hands of drugs. In that same time, $35 billion was spent on addiction treatment, 10’s of billions
As America’s first Drug Czar,
In comparing Dr. Wright to our current Drug Czar, James W. Carroll, I see very little in common. Dr. Wright was knowledgeable, committed and driven whereas Mr. Carroll shares none of these characteristics. There is an old saying; ‘sometimes you just can’t get there from here’; which in this case means don’t expect much from this administration
If there is any hope to be found these days, it’s in the fact that state and local municipalities have stepped up to do the federal government’s work. Today, there are nearly 1,000 lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors brought on by small towns, and villages, cities, counties, parishes
The ONDCP also needs to add evidenced-based holistic addiction treatment modalities in conjunction with the psychological model.
John Giordano is the founder of ‘Life Enhancement Aftercare & Chronic Relapse Recovery Center,’ an Addiction Treatment Consultant, President and Founder of the National Institute for Holistic Addiction Studies, Chaplain of the North Miami Police Department and is the Second Vice President of the Greater North Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce. He is on the editorial board of the highly respected scientific Journal of Reward Deficiency Syndrome (JRDS) and has contributed to over 69 papers published in peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals. For the latest development in cutting-edge addiction treatment, check out his website: http://www.HolisticAddictionInfo.com