- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 30, 2017

The White House on Thursday said President Trump is donating his quarterly paycheck to the Health and Human Services Department to help combat an opioids crisis that is killing tens of thousands of Americans each year.

Mr. Trump, a billionaire, is donating his full presidential salary to various causes and agencies. Previous checks went to the National Parks Services and the Education Department.

Acting HHS Secretary Eric D. Hargan said Mr. Trump’s latest donation of $100,000 is a “tribute to his compassion, his patriotism and a sense of duty to the American people.”

“But it’s his compassion, above all, that drives his interest in the issue to which HHS is going to devote his donation — America’s devastating opioid crisis,” Mr. Hargan said.

More than 60,000 people died from drug overdoses last year, according to government estimates, driven in large part by the influx of synthetic opioids like fentanyl from clandestine labs overseas. The toll makes drug overdoses the leading cause of injury death in the U.S., killing more people than car crashes and gun homicides combined and afflicting the old and young, rich and poor.

Mr. Trump recently declared a public health emergency around the crisis, though he left it to Congress to free up new funding for the fight, disappointing Democrats and other critics.

The president in August had said he planned to spend “a lot money” on the fight, though his personal contribution of $100,000 is a far cry from the billions that policymakers are seeking to get their arms around the crisis.

The Trump administration has been doling out $1 billion in grants that were approved by Congress under President Obama, yet even the White House’s point-man on the crisis — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — says Congress needs to free up a lot more cash.

The White House says it is still speaking to congressional negotiators about the right amount.

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