President Donald Trump’s commission aimed at fighting opioid abuse and devising a strategy to provide treatment to those addicted will miss — for the second time — its deadline to file an interim report to the President, according to a notice posted by the group.
The commission, which is being led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, was initially asked to release their interim report on June 27, a date set when Trump signed his executive order on opioids in March. That deadline was missed and the commission announced it would roll out its plan on July 17.
That deadline, according to a notice published in the Federal Register, will now be missed, too.
Office of National Drug Control Policy, in its posting to the Federal Register, notified that the office will be holding a conference call to “to review a draft interim report that will be posted on ONDCP’s Commission website.”
The conference call is scheduled for July 31, over a month after the initial deadline set by Trump’s order.
Trump made fighting opioid abuse, a problem that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies as an epidemic, a key platform in his 2016 campaign, especially while campaigning in states ravaged by the issue.
“I just want to let the people of New Hampshire know that I’m with you 1,000%, you really taught me a lot,” Trump said an an event in New Hampshire days before Election Day. He later promised to help people who “are so seriously addicted.”
Some treatment experts, however, have questioned Trump’s commitment to the issue, pointing primarily to the Republican-backed health care effort in the Senate, which they say wouldn’t help the crisis.
“If there’s anything in the new health care bill that will help the opioid crisis, I haven’t seen it,” Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of the Opioid Policy Research Collaborative at Brandeis University, told CNN in June.
Trump’s executive order in March was meant to be the White House’s main effort to make good on those promises. The President tapped Christie, a longtime confidant and supporter, to lead the effort, while Democrats Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina and former Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, and Republican Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, were also asked to serve on the commission.
The order said the group’s interim report should include “recommendations regarding how the Federal Government can address drug addiction and the opioid crisis” and provide a guide to the group’s final report, which are due by October 1.
Representatives from Office of National Drug Control Policy referred questions to Christie’s staff, who did not immediately respond to requests for comment.