During his visit, Dr. Gupta visited Kensington and met with public health leaders, treatment providers, law enforcement, Commonwealth and local officials, and harm reduction leaders on the frontlines of the overdose epidemic
Philadelphia, PA – Dr. Rahul Gupta, the White House Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Wednesday and Thursday to learn about the substance use challenges facing residents of Philadelphia and the tireless work being done to address them. His visit built on the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Drug Control Strategy to beat the overdose epidemic, new actions to disrupt the illicit fentanyl supply chain, Dr. Gupta’s recent designation of fentanyl combined with xylazine as an emerging drug threat facing the nation, and other historic actions.
“Philadelphia is experiencing intensified effects from fentanyl combined with xylazine, but their response is intensified, too,” said Dr. Gupta. “The City of Brotherly Love is showing our nation what’s possible when everyone across public health, public safety, harm reduction, and beyond come together to take on a common threat. The historic and coordinated work being done in Philadelphia will help shape our national response to xylazine.”
While in Pennsylvania, Dr. Gupta met with public health leaders, treatment providers, state legislators, law enforcement, harm reduction leaders, the Mayor, and others on the frontlines of the overdose epidemic.
On Wednesday, Dr. Gupta met with city and state leaders to discuss the response to xylazine, academic and medical leaders to discuss expanding the use of buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorder, and with a bipartisan group of state legislators about policies that would enhance the Commonwealth’s response to this crisis, including model state laws. On Thursday, Dr. Gupta visited Kensington, an area of Philadelphia hit hard by xylazine, where he walked the streets to see the situation on the ground and met with people on the front lines of this crisis, including local, state, and federal law enforcement, harm reduction leaders, and wound care specialists at Savage Sisters Recovery Wound Care Clinic. He also met with Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and visited the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, where he saw their work to treat people who are incarcerated who have substance use disorder. This followed the announcement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services informing states they can apply to use Medicaid funds to treat substance use disorder in individuals in carceral settings.
Read the Biden-Harris Administration’s inaugural National Drug Control Strategy HERE.
Read the fact sheet on the Strategy HERE.