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National Coordination

SAFE Takes analyzes and assesses the federal recommendations and proposals made by the White House and National Governors Association.

SAFE Takes reflects our analysis and assessment of the progress made in each of the recommendations made by the President’s Commission (Commission) on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis (November 2017) and the National Governors Association’s (NGA) Recommendations for Federal Action to End the Nation’s Opioid Crisis (January 2018). The following SAFE Takes focuses on government action pertaining to national coordination.


Commission #1:  Congress and the Administration should increase block grant funding for opioid-related and substance use disorder (SUD)-related activities in the states.



Good, but Not Enough


Increased funding to states and communities is a great first step, but should be paired with a national strategy focusing on bold ideas, promising practices, and evidence-based youth prevention efforts.

Commission #2: The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), through support from Health & Human Services and the Department of Justice, should establish a coordinated system for tracking all federally-funded initiatives.

NGA: Congress and the Administration should increase federal funding to states for SUD related activities, streamline the grant process (extend duration), and increase flexibility in grants/funding.


Warning, Caution Ahead


Tracking the effectiveness of grants made by the Federal Government is an important accountability measure. An increase in grants should go along with an effort to make grants more flexible. States and individual recipients still struggle to meet overburdensome reporting requirements, while new actors in the field struggle to understand the grant-making process. There is an influx of money, but efficacy, coordination and tracking are to be determined.
Commission #3: Congress should fund implementation of ONDCP review for every federal program and mandate federal and state cooperation.



Some Coordination


Inter-agency task forces are a great way to accelerate progress on initiatives important to the Administration, but must be paired with the resources and accountability to drive action. ONDCP is a natural office to lead an inter-agency task force and should receive the resources and legitimacy to facilitate a review process. While ONDCP does coordinate federal agency actions, it does not have the funding and resources to do reviews at the suggested level. Reviews of federal programs should be based on measures appropriate to the program area; prevention and treatment programs must be evaluated by different criteria.