“From local communities, to every level of government, the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to delivering on President Biden’s Unity Agenda effort to bring Americans together and beat the overdose epidemic”

Washington, D.C. – White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Dr. Rahul Gupta issued the following statement on the CDC’s latest release of provisional drug overdose death data, which continue to show a flattening of drug overdose deaths in the United States over the past 13 months as the Biden-Harris Administration works to fully implement President Biden’s National Drug Control Strategy.

“After years of tragic and rapid increases in the overdose death rate, we are encouraged to see progress in flattening this trend,” said Dr. Gupta. “This data is an important marker for our nation as we work to build on this progress and save even more lives. Flattening the growth is just the beginning – and now more than ever is the time to double and triple down on our efforts. From local communities, to every level of government, the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to delivering on President Biden’s Unity Agenda effort to bring Americans together and beat the overdose epidemic.”

This latest CDC report shows 110,469 predicted overdose deaths in the 12-month period ending in March 2023. 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.

During his first State of the Union address, President Biden announced his Unity Agenda, focused on issues where all Americans can come together and make progress for the nation, and identified beating the overdose epidemic as one of the four pillars. The Biden-Harris Administration has made this issue a top priority, and taken historic actions over the past two years to address substance use, protect public health and public safety, go after drug traffickers’ profits, and save lives.

Just last week, the White House announced a supplemental funding request, which calls for additional funding to address the nation’s overdose epidemic and urges Congress to help strengthen efforts to stop drug trafficking and expand access to care for substance use disorder.

Recent Biden-Harris Administration actions to address the overdose epidemic also include:

  • Expanding access to life-saving overdose reversal medication. Just last month, the FDA approved another over-the-counter overdose reversal product. The FDA approved the first over-the-counter naloxone nasal spray earlier this spring. This additional approval means more options for consumers and more competition in the market, which will help increase access to this life-saving medication. It also marks the first time a non-profit company has received approval for an overdose reversal product.
  • Releasing a national response plan to combat fentanyl combined with xylazine. The Administration released a National Response Plan to coordinate a whole-of-government response to fight the dangerous and deadly combination of xylazine mixed with fentanyl. Earlier this spring, Dr. Gupta used an executive designation authority for the first time in U.S. history to designate fentanyl combined with xylazine as an emerging threat to the United States and proactively address this dangerous threat head-on. 
  • Launching the Global Coalition to Address Synthetic Drug Threats. Last month, the Biden-Harris Administration launched the Global Coalition to Address Synthetic Drug Threats that will help accelerate efforts against illicit synthetic drugs and employ coordinated approaches to prevent illicit drug manufacturing, detect emerging drug threats, disrupt trafficking, address illicit finance, and respond to public safety and public health impacts. The Administration brought together more than 80 countries and 11 international organizations to take action knowing that countering illicit synthetic drugs must be a global policy priority.
  • Coordinating a North American public health response. Ministers and Secretaries of Health and Senior Officials from Canada, Mexico, and the United States gathered at the White House for the North American Drug Dialogue (NADD) Public Health Summit to coordinate a trilateral approach to the negative health impact of illicit synthetic drugs use throughout North America.
  • Sanctioning Sinaloa Cartel Fentanyl Suppliers. Last week, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated three Sinaloa Cartel members involved in the illicit trafficking of fentanyl and other deadly drugs. With today’s sanctions, the Biden-Harris Administration has now designated more than 170 individuals and entities for their role in the illicit drug trade, including trafficking fentanyl and precursor chemicals. 76 percent of these sanctions are against the members of the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel – the primary suppliers of illicit fentanyl into the United States – and their global network of facilitators, primarily based in the PRC. So far into 2023, sanctions imposed have increased 119 percent over last year’s total.
  • Expanding our High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Program. The HIDTA program devotes more than $275 million to supporting federal, state, local, and Tribal law enforcement working to stop traffickers across all 50 states. Earlier this summer, the White House announced the designation of nine new counties to the HIDTA Program. The addition of these nine counties to the HIDTA program will allow additional resources to be deployed to areas hardest hit by drug trafficking and overdoses.
  • Regulating “precursor” chemicals used to produce illicit fentanyl. At the request of the United States, the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) voted to control three chemicals used by drug traffickers to produce illicit fentanyl.
  • Convening the Third Meeting of the India-U.S. Counternarcotics Working Group. The Narcotics Control Bureau, India (NCB) hosted the third meeting of the India-U.S. Counternarcotics Working Group (CNWG) in New Delhi where India and the United States signed an Amended Letter of Agreement (ALOA) in the field of narcotics control and law enforcement cooperation between both countries.

To read President Biden’s Strategy, click HERE.

To read about President Biden’s supplemental funding request to Congress, click HERE.


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