John Rosenthal, Co-founder & Chairman
Frederick Ryan, Co-Chairman
186 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Over 200 Law Enforcement Leaders Urge Trump Administration Not to Cut Drug Control Program Funding
P.A.A.R.I. Letter Opposes White House Proposal to Cut ONDCP Budget by 95 Percent
GLOUCESTER — Co-Founder and Co-Chairman John Rosenthal, Co-Chairman Frederick Ryan and Executive Director Allie Hunter McDade announce that the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) sent a letter to White House Adviser Kellyanne Conway urging the Trump administration not to cut the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s budget.
For the second time in a year, President Trump has proposed slashing the ONDCP budget almost entirely, and P.A.A.R.I. leaders and law enforcement members are instead encouraging the president to increase funding for the critical programs and initiatives funded by ONDCP.
“Police officers from cities, towns and rural counties are literally on the front lines of this epidemic. We have the unique duty of aiding the victims in the search for quality treatment and recovery while pursuing the dealers and traffickers who profit from misery and death,” the letter reads in part. “No other group of professionals bears this responsibility, and perhaps no organization is as supportive of our efforts as the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) programs.“
Opioid overdoses kill 174 Americans every day. The ONDCP is a critical resource upon which law enforcement relies to counter this growing epidemic, which poses a consistent and urgent threat to public health and quality of life nationwide. P.A.A.R.I. warns that the proposed 95 percent cut to ONDCP funding would be a misguided and dangerous move that would carry deadly consequences.
“It was just three months ago that I stood on the stage alongside President Trump as he publicly declared that the opioid epidemic was a top priority for the White House, and my law enforcement colleagues and I sincerely hoped that this declaration would represent a shift in the effort to save lives rather than serve as a purely symbolic gesture,” Co-Chairman and Arlington Police Chief Ryan said. “The proposed cuts to ONDCP’s funding would represent a devastating setback to longstanding efforts to fight the spread of substance abuse, and I strongly urge the administration to reconsider this move.”
ONDCP has been a strong supporter of the work P.A.A.R.I. and its hundreds of law enforcement partners are doing to save lives by diverting those struggling with substance use disorders away from the criminal justice system and into treatment and recovery.
“Opioids pose a deadly threat to Americans no matter where they live, no matter their socioeconomic background and no matter their political affiliation,” Rosenthal said. “The White House should be directing more resources to ONDCP so that the progress we have made with our partners is not lost along with the lives of potentially thousands more Americans.”
The letter — signed by more than 200 law enforcement leaders from 28 states — notes that ONDCP’s backing of more widespread distribution of the overdose reversal drug naloxone, as well as HIDTA’s sounding of the alarm on fentanyl and carfentanyl, has resulted in countless lives being saved.
The president has proposed shifting nearly all of ONDCP’s $340 million budget to the Department of Justice, effectively stripping it of its mission to enhance the efforts of local law enforcement to stop the flow of drugs into the country while connecting those caught in the grips of addiction with the resources they need to set out on the path to recovery.
Click here to read the letter.
The Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) is a 501c3 nonprofit with a mission to help law enforcement agencies establish pre-arrest programs that create immediate and stigma-free entry points to treatment and recovery programs. P.A.A.R.I. works across sectors to provide training, coaching, and support; program models, policies and procedures, and templates; seed grants; connections to over 300 vetted treatment centers; a network of like-minded law enforcement agencies; a unified voice with media and legislators; and capacity building through AmeriCorps. P.A.A.R.I. is free to join and open to any law enforcement agency that believes in treatment over arrest and views addiction as a disease not a crime. Since June 2015, P.A.A.R.I. has launched more than 375 law enforcement programs in 32 states, distributed 10,000 4mg doses of life-saving nasal naloxone, and helped over 12,000 people into treatment.