President Donald Trump has donated his third quarter salary to help fight the national opioid epidemic, the Associated Press reported.
According to the White House, President Trump donated the $100,000 he would have received in Q3 to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health “to continue the ongoing fight against the opioid crisis.”
The news comes as the death toll associated with the opioid crisis continues to rise. In 2017 alone, 70,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, the majority of which involved some form of opioid, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
While in office, the Trump administration has taken a number of measures in an attempt to curtail the crisis.
In October, the president deemed the opioid epidemic a public health emergency and committed $6 billion in funding to fight it over two years. He also signed the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities (SUPPORT) Act, which helped expand Medicare coverage for opioid addiction and fund research for alternatives to opioid pain medications, among other initiatives.
While the efforts aim to fix a major problem, critics argue the focus has sometimes come at the expense of access to treatment for other behavioral health conditions.
“In an attempt to address and respond to a public emergency like the opioid epidemic, there’s immediately some displacement effect around some, for lack of a better word, ‘legacy’ behavioral health conditions and people that suffer from them,” Matthew Hurford, chief medical officer at Pittsburgh-based Community Care Behavioral Health, said during a recent conference panel.
This salary donation is not President Trump’s first — nor is it expected to be the last. While in office, he’s pledged to donate 100% of his salary to the country. So far, he’s donated to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the Veterans Administration and the Office of the Surgeon General, among other federal groups.