Washington, D.C. – 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 109,680 predicted overdose deaths in the 12-month period ending in December 2022. Most of these deaths were caused by illicit synthetic drugs like clandestinely manufactured fentanyl and methamphetamine, often in combination with other drugs including cocaine, heroin, and xylazine. The new data show that fatal drug poisonings in the U.S. flattened in 2022 after a period of sharp increase from 2019 to 2021. While the number of overdose deaths remains too high, it is estimated that approximately 19,000 American lives have already been saved as the President’s National Drug Control Strategy is being implemented, which illustrates the importance of the Biden-Harris Administration’s unprecedented investments in addressing the opioid epidemic.  

“The historic actions taken by the Biden-Harris Administration are saving lives. We’ve expanded treatment to millions of Americans, we’re improving access to Naloxone to reverse overdoses, and we’re attacking the illicit fentanyl supply chain at every choke point. As a result, around 19,000 people are still alive and can be there at the dinner table, at birthdays, and at life’s most important moments,” said Dr. Gupta. “President Biden has called on us to double down on our efforts to save even more lives so we can beat this crisis, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

To disrupt the supply of drugs, during the same period, from January 2022 through December 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized nearly 240,000 pounds of illicit drugs at our nation’s borders, including 19,289 pounds of illicit fentanyl and 148,362 pounds of methamphetamine.  These drugs were seized before they could reach our communities.  Domestically, other federal, state, local, and Tribal law enforcement agencies seized at least 290,000 pounds of illicit drugs, including 32,510 pounds of fentanyl.  This represents nearly $2 billion denied to drug producers and traffickers.

The Administration is also supporting access to Naloxone, which can reverse opioid-related poisonings. In the 12-months ending December 2022, emergency medical services (EMS) responded to 394,777 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.

Today’s news comes in the wake of Dr. Gupta designating fentanyl combined with xylazine as an emerging drug threat facing the United States, in addition to several other new Administration actions to reduce drug poisoning deaths, including launching a social media campaign aimed at young people about the dangers of illicit fentanyl and how Naloxone can reverse overdoses, the FDA making Naloxone available over-the-counter, and strengthening the Administration’s approach to crack down on illicit fentanyl supply chains, which includes recent enforcement actions by the Department of Justice.

To support the Administration’s efforts to save lives and disrupt drug trafficking, President Biden has requested a historic $46.1 billion from Congress for national drug control programs. This represents a $5.0 billion increase from the FY2022 request and a $2.3 billion increase over the FY2023 enacted level. The FY2024 budget also includes 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.

To read President Biden’s National Drug Control Strategy, click HERE.

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