Today, on International Overdose Awareness Day, Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff and Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), hosted a meeting at the White House with family members from across the country who lost loved ones to drug overdose, including fentanyl poisoning.
Family members shared their personal experiences and raised awareness about accessing treatment and support for individuals, including those with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. They also spoke about bringing attention to the dangers of illicit fentanyl being added to fake prescription pills or other drugs. They stressed the importance of effective prevention programs and making sure harm reduction tools like naloxone are readily available to save lives.
The Second Gentleman thanked the family members for their bravery and dedication to saving lives. He emphasized the need to eliminate the stigma associated with overdoses and ensuring access to mental health and educational resources in communities across the country. Dr. Gupta affirmed the President’s commitment to beating the overdose epidemic as part of his Unity Agenda for the Nation. The President’s Strategy prioritizes high-impact prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery services, as well as going after drug traffickers’ profits and commercial distribution networks. Dr. Gupta spoke about his own work as a physician treating people with substance use disorder in places like West Virginia, a state hit hard by this epidemic.
President Biden declared August 28 through September 3 as Overdose Awareness Week to focus the Nation’s attention on the devastation nationwide caused by illicit fentanyl, and other drugs. International Overdose Awareness Day falls on August 31 each year.
Read more about the administration’s actions to beat the overdose epidemic.