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President Trump holding up a signed memorandum on combatting the opioid crisis last year. Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images

The West Wing has thoroughly marginalized the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Politico reported yesterday, pushing aside seasoned policy staff while presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway relies on political aides to craft the White House’s response to the opioid crisis.

Why it matters: ONDCP is a part of the administration, similar to the White House budget office, and would normally be running point on issues like opioids. The opioid crisis is ravaging American communities at a shocking rate. It has gone on so long, and gotten so severe, that it clearly needs a public-policy response.

That means there’s also a political risk to the West Wing’s strategy here, especially if, as expected, its budget proposal calls for steep cuts to ONDCP.

  • Several of the most vulnerable 2018 Democrats come from states that have been hit especially hard by the opioid epidemic: Joe Manchin in West Virginia, Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Sherrod Brown in Ohio, etc.
  • Those are also all Trump states, and those Democrats are trying to strike a delicate balance: turning out the Democratic base without turning off their larger blocs of Trump-leaning constituents.
  • If you were one of those Democrats, striking that balance would be a lot easier once you could credibly beat up on the White House for sidelining and trying to de-fund the office of drug control policy while your state is in the depths of an addiction crisis.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

India crosses 1 billion COVID vaccinations milestone

A health worker inoculates a COVID-19 vaccine dose to a man wearing a face mask of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Beawar, India, in September. Photo: Sumit Saraswat/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Thursday that the country's health workers have now administered more than 1 billion COVID-19 vaccines doses.

Of note: While this is a significant milestone for the country of 1.4 billion, which has been devastated by the coronavirus, only about 30% of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated against the virus, per AP. Roughly 75% has received at least one dose.

Trump says he plans to launch new social media network in 2022

Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump on Wednesday announced plans to launch a social media network called "Truth Social," and that it would go public via a SPAC.

Why it matters: Most ex-presidents are focused on their legacies, by creating presidential libraries or engaging in philanthropic endeavors. Trump, however, remains consumed by social media.

Beauty giant Coty Cosmetics looking to sell its own branded products

Coty Cosmetics CEO Sue Nabi. Photo: Axios on HBO

Coty Cosmetics CEO Sue Nabi tells Axios the beauty giant will “probably” introduce Coty-branded products one day.

Why it matters: Coty produces some of the world’s most popular fragrances, skin care products and color cosmetics on behalf of other well-known brands, but has shied away from producing its own branded products.