Dr. Gupta: While today’s data continue to show a hopeful trend of a decrease in overdose deaths, we must remain focused on fully implementing President Biden’s National Drug Control Strategy that will save tens of thousands of lives
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), issued the following statement regarding the CDC’s release of provisional drug overdose death data, which show 107,582 predicted overdose deaths in the 12-month period ending in June 2022. Most of these deaths are caused by illicit synthetic drugs like clandestinely manufactured fentanyl and methamphetamine, often in combination with other drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Today’s data represents a decrease in predicted overdose deaths for the third month in a row and a steady slowing of the rate of increase in overdose deaths for the eighth month in a row.
“The overdose epidemic tragically claims a life every five minutes and cost our Nation approximately $1.5 trillion in 2020 alone. Today’s data continue to show a hopeful trend of a decrease in overdose deaths, and we must remain focused on fully implementing President Biden’s Strategy that will save tens of thousands of lives by expanding care for substance use disorder, making naloxone more accessible, and dismantling drug trafficking operations. To support this ongoing work, we need Congress to remove unnecessary barriers to treatment that prevent providers from prescribing medication for opioid use disorder, prioritize the enactment of the Administration’s proposal to make class-wide scheduling of fentanyl-related substances (FRS) permanent, and fully fund the President’s drug budget.”
The Biden-Harris Administration has taken significant actions to address addiction and substance use in the U.S. by expanding access to evidence-based prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery support services and disrupting the commercial supply of illicit drugs like fentanyl driving the overdose epidemic. Read about those actions here.
To disrupt the commercial supply of drugs, during the period from July 2021 through June 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized approximately 280,900 pounds of illicit drugs at our nation’s borders. These drugs were seized before they could reach America’s communities and included 11,582 pounds of illicit fentanyl and 177,932 pounds of methamphetamine. Domestically, other federal, state, local, and Tribal law enforcement agencies seized at least 290,300 pounds of illicit drugs, including 21,328 pounds of fentanyl. The weight of these drugs seized at our borders and domestically represents at least $2.9 billion denied to drug producers and traffickers, according to High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) price estimates.
The Administration is also supporting access to naloxone, which can reverse opioid-related poisonings. In the 12-months ending June 2022, emergency medical services (EMS) responded to 392,050 activations nationwide that involved the administration of naloxone. While this does not capture all naloxone administered (naloxone is often administered outside of the EMS system by community members or other health care providers), the majority of patients received a single dose of naloxone and had not received naloxone prior to EMS arrival at the scene.