In Houston, ONDCP Director Dr. Rahul Gupta Meets with Leaders on the Front Lines of the Overdose Epidemic
During his visit to Houston, Dr. Gupta Announces New Funding to Disrupt Drug Trafficking and Dismantle Illicit Finance Operations as Part of the Administration’s Strategy to Beat the Overdose Epidemic
HOUSTON, TX – This week, Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), traveled to Houston, Texas, where he met with law enforcement officials and public health leaders addressing addiction and the overdose epidemic.
During his trip, Dr. Gupta announced an increase in funding for law enforcement across the country, including in Houston. The funding supports implementation of President Biden’s new National Drug Control Strategy by providing $275 million to 33 regional High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) working to reduce violence associated with drug trafficking, improve interdiction efforts through enhanced data sharing and targeting, and dismantle illicit finance operations. The funding also supports public health and safety partnerships like the Overdose Response Strategy (ORS), a partnership between the HIDTA program and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that works to reduce overdoses, and ODMAP, a surveillance tool used to track suspected drug overdoses in real time nationwide.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is working closely with public health and public safety officials in Texas and across the country to go after the two key drivers of the overdose epidemic: untreated addiction and drug trafficking. As part of the President’s new National Drug Control Strategy, we are making sure those on the front lines of the overdose epidemic have the resources they need.” said Dr. Gupta. “Together, we will save lives.”
On Thursday, Dr. Gupta heard from Houston Police Department officers and Houston HIDTA law enforcement members working on the front lines of the overdose epidemic about the work being done to save lives, including disrupting drug trafficking and administering naloxone to reverse overdoses. They also shared how they are using technology to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking operations.
Dr. Gupta also met with committee members from the Houston-Harris County Office of Drug Policy, and prevention and treatment providers to hear about ways they are working together to address addiction and the overdose epidemic.
He also participated in an aerial tour with Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) officers of the Port of Houston, where they are working to seize illicit drugs that harm the health and safety of our communities.
The 33 HIDTAs coordinate Federal, state, local, and tribal drug enforcement efforts across the nation. Each year, HIDTAs assess the drug threats in their communities and develop strategies to address those threats. According to the most recent HIDTA Program Successes Report, in 2021, HIDTAs seized $26.1 billion worth of illicit drugs and disrupted or dismantled over 3,100 drug trafficking and money laundering organizations across the country.
In addition, HIDTA supports public health and safety partnerships like ORS – a unique collaboration between CDC and the HIDTA program designed to help communities reduce fatal and non-fatal drug overdoses by connecting public health and public safety agencies, sharing information, and supporting evidence-based interventions.
The Biden-Harris Administration has already taken significant actions to address addiction and the overdose epidemic based on the President’s Drug Policy Priorities for Year One.
Read the Biden-Harris Administration’s inaugural National Drug Control Strategy HERE.
Read the fact sheet on the Strategy HERE.