ONDCP Director Meets with Leaders in Utah and California in Support of the Administration’s Strategy to Beat the Overdose Epidemic
Dr. Gupta also announced new actions to address methamphetamine health and safety concerns
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), traveled to Utah and California where he met with public health leaders, law enforcement officials, elected officials, and others working to address addiction and the overdose epidemic. Dr. Gupta also announced the Biden-Harris Administration’s new plan to address methamphetamine health and safety concerns. All these efforts build on President Biden’s recently released National Drug Control Strategy.
“Supporting public health and safety leaders on the front lines of the overdose epidemic in Utah, California, and across the country is a key priority of the President’s National Drug Control Strategy,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta. “Together, we are focused on actions we must take to reduce overdoses right now, including removing barriers to treatment for substance use disorder, expanding access to high-impact harm reduction services, and dismantling drug trafficking operations.”
On Thursday, Dr. Gupta met with High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program law enforcement officials from across the country in Salt Lake City to hear about the work being done to reduce the supply of illicit drugs, disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations, and partner with public health officials to reduce overdoses. Dr. Gupta also met with Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill to discuss the importance of expanding access to diversion programs, getting treatment to incarcerated individuals who are at high-risk for overdose, and expanding access to naloxone to save lives.
On Friday, Dr. Gupta met with Utah Naloxone — a group that brings together community leaders, medical professionals, people with lived experience, and first responders to distribute the life-saving opioid-reversal medicine to people at risk of overdose. He also heard from the men and women of Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness to discuss their services and initiatives and how they leverage their lived experience to help Utahans find and sustain recovery.
On Saturday, Dr. Gupta visited the San Ysidro Port of Entry at the U.S. – Mexico border where he met with the men and women of U.S. Customs and Border Protection who work every day to interdict illicit drugs that harm our communities. He also toured a cross-border tunnel that U.S. Border Patrol and Homeland Security Investigations agents had identified and shut down as part of a whole-of-government approach to protect communities from the dangers of illicit drugs like fentanyl.
Dr. Gupta then visited U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Diego where he spoke with officers about their coordinated land and maritime drug interdiction efforts, work being done every day as part of President Biden’s Strategy to prevent illicit drugs from entering our communities. He also flew with a Sector San Diego helicopter crew to examine the maritime and land borders in the San Diego region.
Dr. Gupta then met with members of the San Diego Meth Strike Force, including San Diego HIDTA officials, Representative Scott Peters (CA-52), and public health leaders to discuss their work and to announce the Administration’s new plan to address the rise in meth use.
Finally, Dr. Gupta spoke with the Drug Enforcement Administration San Diego Field Division about their overdose response team, an initiative to rapidly investigate the sources of illicit drugs involved in overdoses.
The Biden-Harris Administration has already taken significant actions to address addiction and the overdose epidemic.
Read more about the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Drug Control Strategy HERE.