Washington, D.C.— Today, Regina LaBelle, Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy, issued the following statement regarding the CDC’s release of provisional drug overdose death data, which show a record number of 93,000 predicted overdose deaths in the last calendar year:

“As the latest CDC data show, overdose deaths continued to rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, which likely contributed to the increase. The Biden-Harris Administration is working urgently to take actions that treat substance use disorder as a chronic—not acute—condition that requires long-term investments and strategies. Our focus is on evidence-based programs that prevent drug use before it begins, build trust and engagement with people who use drugs so they can receive critical health services, expand access to quality treatment and recovery support services, and reduce the supply of illicit substances.”

Background:

The Biden-Harris Administration’s Year One Drug Policy Priorities include:

  • Expanding access to evidence-based treatment;
  • Advancing racial equity in our approach to drug policy;
  • Enhancing evidence-based harm reduction efforts;
  • Supporting evidence-based prevention efforts to reduce youth substance use;
  • Reducing the supply of illicit substances;
  • Advancing recovery-ready workplaces and expanding the addiction workforce; and
  • Expanding access to recovery support services.

President Biden’s American Rescue Plan was a down payment on these priorities, investing nearly $4 billion in behavioral health and substance use disorder supports. The President’s FY22 budget request calls for $10.7 billion to support research, prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery support services, with targeted investments to meet the needs of populations at greatest risk for overdose and substance use disorder. The budget also includes significant investments in reducing the supply of illicit substances.

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