Committee Introduces Legislation to Reauthorize ONDCP

Published: May 23, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, Subcommittee Chairman Mark Meadows and Subcommittee Ranking Member Gerry Connolly released the following statement after the Committee passed bipartisan legislation, H.R. 5925, the Coordinated Response through Interagency Strategy and Information Sharing (CRISIS) Act, to reauthorize and revamp the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

Chairman Gowdy and Subcommittee Chairman Meadows issued the following statement:

“Our country stands in the midst of a historic opioid crisis – and it’s only getting worse. Each day, families and communities across the nation lose loved ones to drug addiction. Now more than ever, our country is in desperate need of a central, coordinated response at the national level. 

The Office of National Drug Control Policy plays a critical role in coordinating the nation’s drug control policy and programs. The Office is currently operating under an expired authorization, yet they continue to receive annual appropriations from Congress. Reauthorizing the Office with revamped and enhanced authorities will improve the coordination and effectiveness of federal agencies’ vast and diverse drug control efforts.”

Ranking Member Cummings and Subcommittee Ranking Member Connolly issued the following statement: 

“Today’s legislation makes significant improvements to the organization and authority of ONDCP, and we are very pleased that the Chairman agreed to several of our proposals, including establishing a new Treatment Coordinator within ONDCP, ensuring that ONDCP will have adequate resources, and requiring-for the first time ever-the promulgation of model standards for treatment facilities. While we support this bipartisan bill, we caution all Members that without significant new, dedicated funding for treatment across the country, the steps we make in this bill will not make a dent in combating the most deadly health crisis we have witnessed in three decades.”

Click here to view the full text of the bill. 

Click here to view a one-page summary of the bill. 

Bill Highlights

  • Calls for an immediate and comprehensive response to the opioid epidemic by requiring the Office develop a strategy to implement key recommendations of the President’s Opioid Commission.
  • Requires the Office report to Congress and the President annually on their progress toward meeting Strategy goals.
  • Retains the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) and the Drug Free Communities (DFC) programs within the Office to maintain and support these effective and well-functioning partnerships.
  • Ensures national drug control policy is based on evidence, requires an annual plan to develop evidence and evaluation, and increases the Office’s role in improving access to relevant information.
  • Establishes a Treatment Coordinator and Treatment Committee to coordinate efforts to expand the availability and effectiveness of evidence-based substance use disorder treatment. 
  • Creates a new data Fusion Center to expand the data collected on the use, supply, and interdiction of illicit drugs and on the availability of and need for substance use disorder treatment and to help guide the identification of and response to emerging drug threats.
  • Requires the promulgation, through an advisory committee, of model, evidence-based standards for substance use disorder treatment and recovery facilities.
  • Renames ONDCP the Office of National Drug Control (ONDC) to represent the Office’s operational role rather than specifying policy as its sole responsibility.

Feedback

On May 9, 2018, the Committee released a discussion draft of legislation to reauthorize ONDCP. The Committee launched a feedback submission page on the website to accept questions, comments and concerns from members of the public. The Committee received over 115 comments from over 70 respondents. Of those respondents, 61 specifically wrote in support of the HIDTA program. The Committee incorporated nearly 30 revisions in the final text of the bill based on feedback received.

Background

  • On May 17, 2018, the Committee held a hearing to discuss policy proposals for reauthorizing ONDCP and to discuss how evidence-based policymaking and information sharing can be used to identify and prevent emerging drug trends.
  • On May 9, 2018, the Committee hosted a roundtable discussion where ONDCP officials implored Members to reauthorize the office to empower ONDCP to more effectively coordinate the federal response to the opioid epidemic.
  • On April 11, 2018, the Subcommittee on Healthcare, Benefits, and Administrative Rules held a hearing to examine local responses and resources to curtail the opioid crisis.
  • In March 2018, Committee staff held a roundtable discussion at a newly designated HIDTA district.
  • In March 2018, Committee staff traveled to China to investigate the trafficking of illicit fentanyl through the U.S. Postal Service. 
  • On November 28, 2017, the Committee held a field hearing at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore to discuss the findings and recommendations from the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. 
  • On July 26, 2017, the Committee held a hearing to examine options for reauthorizing ONDCP and to discuss ONDCP’s effort to coordinate drug control policy and spending across the federal government.

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