The Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) appreciates this opportunity to provide comments to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on questions relevant to FDA’s newly established Opioid Policy Steering Committee (OPSC) and how FDA can or should use its authorities to address this crisis.
Congress continues to examine the epidemic of opioid abuse that is plaguing communities across the country. Addressing this crisis is a top priority for PORAC, as recent estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that drug overdose deaths in 2016 most likely exceeded 64,000 — an increase of more than 22% over the 2015 total.
Over the course of two days in mid-September, several members of PORAC’s Board of Directors met with more than 25 members of California’s congressional delegation, as well as with the White House and the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, to advocate for policies and principles that will help to ensure public safety.
The August congressional recess, the month when lawmakers go home to their districts (and a time to which Washingtonians look forward for 11 months of the year), was not as quiet as anticipated. In early August, the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to adopt a resolution imposing additional sanctions on North Korea in response to that country’s growing missile and nuclear weapon program.
On May 23, the Trump administration released its fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget proposal, entitled “A New Foundation for American Greatness.” The budget request would provide $27.7 billion for the Department of Justice, a decrease of $1.1 billion compared to the FY2017 funding level. The budget places a strong emphasis on investing in immigration enforcement and combating violent crime.
On May 5, President Trump signed into law a $1.1 trillion spending measure that funds the federal government through September 30, the end of fiscal year (FY) 2017. The House and Senate voted to pass the measure just days before federal funding was set to expire. Generally speaking, the FY 2017 spending bill, commonly called the omnibus, maintains funding for the federal government — including a number of fundamental federal law enforcement programs.
In late March, more than a dozen PORAC and PORAN members traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with lawmakers to discuss legislative priorities in the 115th Congress. In total, the group met with more than 30 lawmakers and their staffs, including U.S. Senators Feinstein (D-Calif.), Harris (D-Calif.), Heller (R-Nev.) and Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), as well as House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). PORAC also met with staff from the House Education and Workforce Committee and the Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students.