A lot of Republican lawmakers are calling for the Trump administration to do more to combat the opioid crisis.
But for many, Trump’s administration has been largely silent, with little indication the president will make the country safer, according to a new report from the conservative Heritage Foundation.
The report comes as lawmakers in several states are considering a bill that would require drug testing for new hires at the government-run Veterans Affairs hospital in Washington.
It would also be a significant step in addressing the crisis that has led to the deaths of at least 21 people in recent months at VA facilities across the country.
But the Heritage report suggests Trump’s White House could do more if it were more transparent about how it plans to address the crisis.
Trump’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has been slow to take action on the issue, according the report, which says the administration’s failure to act has “created a situation where federal employees are not confident that they are being treated fairly and appropriately by the Veterans Health Administration.”
Many have been waiting for Trump to act.
The president has said he will not address the issue until the Veterans Affairs Secretary resigns and a new VA chief is named.
But Trump’s own administration has not done much to address VA problems.
The administration has said that it is considering hiring at least 1,000 more VA employees and is “actively considering several other actions to improve the VA health care delivery system.”
But many veterans have said they fear that VA care is not being adequately covered, that VA employees are underpaid, and that they have not been adequately compensated for time spent in VA care.
According to the Heritage Foundation report, the VA has been unable to improve its care because it is “not well positioned to do so.”
And many have also said that they want the VA to do its job better and to address more systemic issues, including corruption and the lack of accountability within the agency.
VA officials have denied the reports and said that the VA is “in compliance with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations.”
Read the full report here.
The White House also has not taken action on opioid abuse.
Last month, the administration announced it would phase out opioid prescribing in VA hospitals, but that would not come into effect until 2019.
In May, the Trump Administration said it was working on plans to implement a program that would treat veterans with chronic pain with opioid medication instead of a traditional opioid drug.
But some have expressed concerns that the plan is too lenient on opioids and is not tailored to veterans with severe pain, while other experts have said the program is effective in reducing opioid addiction.
The Trump administration also has been hesitant to expand access to mental health services for veterans.
It has not expanded the federal government’s mental health care program, which was created in the early 1990s to provide mental health treatment to veterans returning from war and other traumatic experiences.
And in April, the Department of Veterans Affairs told Congress it is not considering expanding mental health programs for veterans who are currently on disability or are experiencing mental health issues.
But at least one senior VA official told reporters last month that the department has a plan to expand mental health for veterans, although that plan will take a long time to develop and implement.
The Heritage report also suggests that the Trump White House might consider changing the way the federal Department of Justice (DOJ) handles the opioid epidemic.
According the report: “The DOJ has been in the midst of a major reorganization effort that is focused on combating a number of crimes, including murder, drug trafficking, and weapons smuggling, as well as a host of other criminal and civil offenses.
The reorganization is currently underway, and the Trump transition team has indicated that it will make significant changes to the DOJ’s approach to the opioid situation, including shifting its focus to other crimes.
If the DOJ is to be taken seriously in addressing this crisis, the DOJ must be more transparent with the American public and its agencies, and be able to take proactive action to protect the public health and safety.”
Read the full Heritage report here, or read a summary here.
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