WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, President Joe Biden sent his Administration’s inaugural National Drug Control Strategy to Congress at a time when drug overdoses have reached a record high. The Strategy delivers on the call to action in President Biden’s Unity Agenda through a whole-of-government approach to beat the overdose epidemic. It proposes targeted actions to expand access to evidence-based prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery services while reducing the supply of drugs like fentanyl.
“This Strategy goes after two big drivers of the opioid epidemic: untreated addiction and drug trafficking,” said President Biden. “It’s time we treat addiction like any other disease. And at the same time, we are disrupting drug traffickers’ financial networks, supply chains, and delivery routes, including on the internet.”
“President Biden’s inaugural National Drug Control Strategy delivers on his Unity Agenda call to action to beat the overdose epidemic,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). “It focuses on actions we must take to reduce overdoses right now. Those include expanding access to high impact harm reduction tools like naloxone, quickly connecting more people to treatment, disrupting transnational criminal organizations’ financial networks and supply chains, and making better use of data to guide drug policy and save lives. This Strategy signals a new era of drug policy centered on individuals and communities.”
“The pandemic has not only taken a physical toll on all of us, but also brought on greater behavioral health challenges for everyone,” said Xavier Becerra, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. “From small towns to big cities, I have traveled nationwide meeting with people who have been hit particularly hard, and partnering with local leaders to find ways to save lives in our communities. This Strategy continues to deliver on the Biden-Harris Administration’s promise to build back better – and healthier.”
“Under this administration, DHS is working every day to disrupt and dismantle the operations and networks of transnational criminal organizations,” said Alejandro N. Mayorkas, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. “We are using new strategies to identify, apprehend, and hold the unscrupulous criminals accountable.”
“The Labor Department is committed to supporting people who are battling substance use disorders and ensure they have every opportunity to come out the other side, and that includes providing better information and supports for those in their communities and workplaces,” said Marty Walsh, U.S. Secretary of Labor. “Reducing stigma, expanding employment opportunities, and addressing parity in insurance coverage are all critical to breaking down barriers to better prevent deaths and empower people in recovery.”
“The men and women of the DEA are working relentlessly to achieve the bold goals set forth in the Strategy,” said Anne Milgram, Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “We are committed to working with the Office of National Drug Control Policy and our other valued federal partners to reduce the supply of fentanyl and other deadly drugs, expand access to life-saving treatments, and protect the safety and health of communities throughout the country.”
“The clear priorities in the President’s National Drug Control Strategy are an outcome of unprecedented Federal coordination on this vital issue,” said Dr. Steven Lieberman, Acting Undersecretary for Health, Department of Veterans Affairs. “Across the Nation, in rural and urban America, VA is striving to preserve and restore the health of Veterans and their families, caregivers, and survivors.”
“Illness, deaths of loved ones, and prolonged social isolation as a result of the pandemic have impacted lives across the world,” said Admiral Rachel Levine, M.D., HHS Assistant Secretary for Health and head of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. “The accompanying stressors and trauma have also had unique implications for substance use trends and among people with substance use disorders. This strategy could not be more timely, as drug overdose deaths have continued to escalate dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“The tragic number of overdose deaths have devastated many families and communities in this country, and the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the needs of Americans impacted by mental and substance use disorders,” said Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., the HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). “With the Biden-Harris Administration’s Strategy as a guide, SAMHSA continues working tirelessly with our federal, national and community partners to connect people to innovative and evidence-based prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery supports.”
“Overdose deaths continue to rise across the United States. To bring an end to this crisis, collaborative public health and public safety solutions are needed within communities,” said Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, CDC Director. “CDC is fully committed to leveraging its scientific expertise to advance the goals of the administration’s National Drug Control Strategy.”
“The overdose epidemic is unprecedented. New efforts to improve access to timely data are critical to being able to effectively respond to this rapidly shifting crisis. Adopting and expanding proven – but currently underused – health interventions like treatment for people with substance use disorders and harm reduction practices is also essential,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, MD, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health.
To advance President Biden’s Unity Agenda, the Strategy focuses on two critical drivers of the epidemic: untreated addiction and drug trafficking. It instructs federal agencies to prioritize actions that will save lives, get people the care they need, go after drug traffickers’ profits, and make better use of data to guide all these efforts.
In addition, the Strategy directs federal agencies to expand efforts to prevent substance use among school-aged children and young adults, and support community-led coalitions implementing evidence-based prevention strategies across the country. It directs federal agencies to expand scientific understanding of the recovery process by establishing a federal recovery research agenda; adopt flexible, responsive approaches that help people with substance use disorder (SUD) find and follow a pathway to recovery or remission that works for them; and eliminate barriers and increase economic opportunities for people in recovery. And the Strategy includes specific actions to improve access to medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) programs for jails and prisons; identify ways to advance racial equity in the investigation, arrest, and sentencing for drug related offenses while strengthening public safety; divert non-violent individuals from the criminal justice system and juvenile justice systems to treatment when appropriate; and remove barriers and expand supportive services to help reintegrate people into society after incarceration.
Read the Biden-Harris Administration’s inaugural National Drug Control Strategy HERE.
Read the fact sheet on the Strategy HERE.