ONDCP Director Meets with Maine Leaders, Visits Maine State Prison as Part of President’s Unity Agenda to Beat the Overdose Epidemic
Dr. Gupta heard from leaders on the frontlines of the overdose epidemic and discussed the Administration’s work to expand treatment behind the walls, reduce the supply of illicit drugs, and prevent overdoses
BANGOR, ME – This week, Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), traveled to Maine where he met with federal and state officials, as well as public health leaders and law enforcement officials addressing addiction and the overdose epidemic. During his trip, Dr. Gupta discussed President Biden’s National Drug Control Strategy and the work being done to expand access to evidence-based treatment including in incarcerated settings, prevent overdoses through interventions like naloxone, and go after drug traffickers’ profits to prevent the trafficking of fentanyl into communities.
“President Biden called on the Nation to come together to beat the opioid epidemic as part of his Unity Agenda and introduced a comprehensive National Drug Control Strategy to turn the tide on this crisis that is claiming a life every five minutes,” said Dr. Gupta. “In Maine, I was able to hear from the women and men on the front lines of the overdose epidemic, and see firsthand how the state collects overdose data in real-time and works to ensure people at highest risk of overdose have access to the care they need.”
During his trip, Dr. Gupta delivered keynote remarks at Governor Janet Mills’ 4th Annual Opioid Response Summit. He discussed the work being done to address untreated addiction, expand access to evidence-based care, and go after drug traffickers’ profits as part of President Biden’s Strategy to beat the overdose epidemic. He also met with Senator Angus King, Governor Mills, law enforcement officials, leaders of Maine’s Drug Data Hub, and recovery and harm reduction leaders at the Bangor Area Recovery Network (BARN).
On Tuesday, Dr. Gupta toured Maine State Prison, which has expanded its Medications for Substance Use Disorder (MSUD) program to include universal access to MSUD for any resident of the prison who needs treatment and provides naloxone to people upon leaving the facility. Research has shown that for incarcerated individuals with opioid use disorder, treatment with Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) corresponded to a reduction in the risk of death by 85-percent for drug overdoses in the month following their release.
During the visit, Dr. Gupta discussed the administration’s work to expand access to evidence-based treatment across the country and the importance of making naloxone more affordable, accessible, and administrable.
Read the Biden-Harris Administration’s inaugural National Drug Control Strategy HERE.
Read the fact sheet on the Strategy HERE.