WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), in partnership with the Ad Council, launched the first phase of its campaign to educate young people on the dangers of fentanyl and the life-saving effects of Naloxone, a medicine that reverses opioid-related overdoses. President Biden has taken a whole-of-government approach to beat the overdose epidemic. This includes taking a series of unprecedented steps to expand access to Naloxone and other life-saving interventions, enforcement actions to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking operations, and the launch of educational campaigns to reach young people across the country.
At a time when overdose deaths among adolescents are near record high levels, in part driven by counterfeit pills containing illicit fentanyl, the campaign meets young people where they are on social media platforms and enlists the help of influencers such as college athletes and lifestyle content creators to talk about the pervasiveness of fentanyl in the Nation’s drug supply and inform viewers about how they can keep themselves and their loved ones safe by carrying Naloxone. As part of the campaign, information about Naloxone will be featured on digital billboards in places that young people frequent, including college campuses, gas stations, bars, and restaurants.
The new campaign builds on the Ad Council’s existing Real Deal on Fentanyl platform to highlight the importance of carrying Naloxone and encourage young people to learn how to use and find Naloxone in their communities. With this lifesaving information, young adults can be prepared to take action in the event they are present for an overdose. Examples of the campaign, including influencer videos on social media and digital billboards, can be viewed HERE and HERE.
“We know that the majority of adolescent overdose deaths had one or more bystanders nearby, and that’s why today’s announcement is so critical—we are meeting young people where they are to prevent drug poisonings being driven by illicit fentanyl and ensure they know how they can save a life with Naloxone,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of ONDCP. “This campaign builds on President Biden’s whole-of-government approach to beat the overdose epidemic by working to get Naloxone into all communities and dismantle drug trafficking operations producing lethal substances like fentanyl. Our message is simple: Naloxone is a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose, it’s easy to use, and it’s available without a prescription in all 50 states. Even if young people or their friends don’t use drugs, carrying Naloxone could help them save a life in the event of an overdose.”
“The overdose crisis is one of the most pressing issues facing our country,” said Michelle Hillman, Chief Campaign Development Officer at the Ad Council. “It’s devastating our families, our friends and our communities every day. But we can take actions against it. One major step is to make sure young adults across the country are aware of the life-saving effects of Naloxone, where to access it and how to use it in a crisis. We’re honored to work with ONDCP and the White House to ensure this message reaches and resonates with America’s youth at such a critical time.”
Almost 80% of overdose deaths in 2021 were caused by illicit opioids like fentanyl. In the first half of 2021, fentanyl was identified in 77% of adolescent overdose deaths. Overdose or poisonings caused by illicit opioids such as fentanyl are preventable with Naloxone. That is exactly why expanding Naloxone access and education is a key focus of President Biden’s National Drug Control Strategy. Today’s announcement builds on a holistic set of actions the Administration has taken to increase access to this life-saving tool, including supporting states through enhanced technical assistance, policy academies, and convenings to ensure existing State Opioid Response funds are used to saturate hard-hit communities with Naloxone; delivering funds directly to local public health departments so they can purchase Naloxone; and calling for an additional $100 million for harm reduction services like Naloxone in the President’s FY24 budget request.
Today’s important step to make this life-saving medicine more accessible will help build on the progress the Biden-Harris Administration has made to reduce overdoses by expanding access to addiction care, reduce the supply of illicit drugs like fentanyl, and save lives. In his first State of the Union address, President Biden announced a four-part Unity Agenda focused on areas where members of both parties can come together and make additional progress for the American people including beating the opioid and overdose epidemic to enhance public health and public safety outcomes.
During his 2023 State of the Union Address, the President announced that his Administration is accelerating these efforts by launching this campaign, and also:
- Providing 123 new large-scale scanners along the Southwest Border to stop more fentanyl from getting into the U.S.
- Stopping more packages from being shipped into the U.S. with fentanyl and the material used to make it.
- Leading a sustained diplomatic push that will address fentanyl and it supply chain abroad.
- Working with Congress to make permanent tough penalties on suppliers of fentanyl.
- Expanding access to evidence-based treatment for addiction.
In March, President Biden released his FY 2024 budget request to Congress, which calls for a historic investment of $46.1 billion for National Drug Control Program agencies. The FY2024 budget request continues the Biden-Harris Administration’s trend of calling for dramatic investments to address the overdose epidemic driven by fentanyl and represents a $5.0 billion increase from the FY2022 request and a $2.3 billion increase over the FY2023 enacted level. The President’s FY2024 budget also proposes an increase in funding for efforts to reduce the supply of illicit drugs like fentanyl and combat drug trafficking. It also includes an increase in funding to support the expansion of prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery support services. Read more HERE.
The launch of the campaign follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the first nonprescription, “over-the-counter” (OTC) Naloxone nasal spray (Narcan).