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In this 2013 photo provided by Kraig Moss, Moss, left, poses with son, Rob, in their Owego, N.Y. home. In a hall packed with Iowa voters, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump looked Moss in the eye and vowed to fight the opioid crisis that killed his only son Rob two years earlier. But Trump released a federal budget proposal Tuesday, May 23, 2017, that would cut insurance coverage for addiction treatment and funding for research and prevention. (Moss Family Photo via AP)

Families hit by drug addiction crisis dismayed at Trump’s budget

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NEW YORK — He slept next to his son’s ashes most nights back when Kraig Moss first met Donald Trump. In a hall packed with Iowa voters, the presidential candidate looked the middle-aged truck driver in the eye and vowed to fight the opioid crisis that killed his only son two years earlier. “He promised me, in honor of m…

NEW YORK — He slept next to his son’s ashes most nights back when Kraig Moss first met Donald Trump.
In a hall packed with Iowa voters, the presidential candidate looked the middle-aged truck driver in the eye and vowed to fight the opioid crisis that killed his only son two years earlier.
“He promised me, in honor of my son, that he was going to combat the ongoing heroin epidemic,” Moss said of the January 2016 interaction. “He got me hook, line and sinker.”
Moss, an amateur musician, quickly sold enough possessions to fund a months-long tour of more than 40 Trump rallies, where he serenaded voters with pro-Trump songs. His guitar, and the ashes of his late 24-year-old son, Rob, were always close by.
“I had everything riding on the fact that he was going to make things better,” Moss said. “He lied to me.”
Trump’s budget proposal, released this week, would reduce funding for addiction treatment, research and prevention. The most damaging proposed cut, critics say, is the president’s 10-year plan to shrink spending for Medicaid, which provides coverage to an estimated three in 10 adults with opioid addiction. Members of Congress have said they are unlikely to approve the budget as written.
The blueprint comes weeks after the president celebrated House passage of a Republican health care bill that would dramatically reduce Medicaid coverage, while allowing states to weaken a requirement that private insurance cover addiction treatment. A Congressional Budget Office report on Wednesday said a patient’s cost of substance abuse services could increase by thousands of dollars a year in states that chose to weaken coverage requirements.
Some see the moves as a painful betrayal of Americans whose families have been devastated by addiction and who trusted the president’s repeated pledges to make them a priority once in office. Trump’s budget priorities focus on tax cuts, military spending and border security with massive cuts to programs for the poor and disabled.
Those most frustrated include parents who shared their stories with Trump.
“We want to help those who have become so badly addicted,” Trump insisted during a late-March “listening session” on opioid and drug abuse at the White House.
Attendees included Pam Garozzo, of Morrisville, Pennsylvania, whose 23-year-old son died of an overdose in December. Trump’s budget requests, Garozzo said this week, run “counter to what we thought he was going to do.”
“That would be a tragedy,” she said. “We’re losing a whole generation of young people to this disease.”
Others responded with similar frustration.
“I didn’t see this coming,” said Paul Kusiak, of Beverly, Massachusetts, who shared with Trump the story of his two sons’ successful battle with opioid addiction during a New Hampshire roundtable discussion eight days before the election. “I’m trying desperately to have hope and take the president at his word.”
During the roundtable, Trump opened up about his father’s struggle with alcoholism. It was enough to convince skeptics in the room he was serious about an epidemic the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says kills 91 Americans each day.
“I believed that he had learned something new and was going to do something about it,” said Patty McCarthy Metcalf, who leads the advocacy group Faces and Voices of Recovery. “He’…
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Families hit by drug addiction crisis dismayed at Trump's budget
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