As part of Unity Agenda efforts, Biden-Harris Administration committed to bringing all Americans together to address the overdose epidemic and save lives

Washington, D.C. – As the Biden-Harris Administration continues to work to put President Biden’s Unity Agenda into action, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Dr. Rahul Gupta traveled to Kentucky this week to meet with U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell as well as federal, state, and local leaders on efforts to come together and beat the overdose epidemic. 

“Since day one, President Biden has made clear that addressing the overdose epidemic is a bipartisan effort. Through our work and engagement at every level, we must put the President’s Unity Agenda into action to save lives,” said Dr. Gupta. “I am grateful for the commitment and partnership of Senator McConnell who continues to work with the Administration to deliver resources to address the epidemic in his state, and the incredible efforts on the ground by local officials and community leaders who are taking aggressive action to treat addiction, reduce overdoses and improve the health and safety of all Kentuckians. It will take all of us working together to beat this epidemic.”

“Battling the overdose epidemic is one of the most important policy issues of our time. Tragically, overdose deaths are still far beyond what they were just five years ago – especially in Kentucky. VOA Mid-States has done tremendous work guiding people who struggle with substance abuse onto a path to recovery,” said Senator McConnell. “It was a pleasure to welcome Dr. Gupta back to Kentucky and to celebrate the great work being done at Eastern Kentucky’s VOA facility, with Jennifer Hancock at the helm. The expansion of this facility will bring long-term recovery care to even more Kentuckians in need and begin healing communities in this region that have been especially hard-hit.”

Dr. Gupta began his visit in Frankfort to meet with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and learn about the business community’s efforts to support individuals in recovery and advance recovery-ready workplace policies across the Commonwealth. The group discussed the importance of promoting inclusive hiring, enabling employers to assist in the recovery process, and helping employers retain talent.

In the afternoon, Dr. Gupta visited Clay County, Kentucky for a roundtable discussion with U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and Kentucky State Senate President Robert Stivers on local, state, and federal efforts to address the overdose epidemic. Dr. Gupta and Senator McConnell joined Volunteers of America Mid-States, state and local officials and community stakeholders to hear about their efforts to expand addiction recovery services to Kentuckians. During the discussion, Dr. Gupta thanked Leader McConnell for his commitment to addressing the nation’s overdose crisis and being a partner in this work, helping deliver over $650 million of federal funding to support Kentucky’s prevention, treatment and enforcement efforts. Dr. Gupta also commended the Commonwealth for taking so many actions to save lives, including installing naloxone vending machines, applying to use federal funds to treat people with substance use disorder before reentry, and reducing overdose deaths by 4% last year.

During his trip, Dr. Gupta also shared the Biden-Harris Administration’s recent actions to target drug traffickers and save lives, including the designation of Bullitt County, Kentucky to the ONDCP-funded High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program, and highlighted the leveling off of fatal overdose deaths over the past 13 months, halting a years-long period of rapid increases from 2019-2021. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to building on this progress and saving even more lives.

During his first State of the Union address, President Biden announced beating the overdose epidemic as one of the four pillars of his Unity Agenda, focused on issues where members of both parties can come together and make progress for Americans. The Biden-Harris Administration has made this issue a top priority over the past two years, and taken historic actions to address substance use, protect public health and public safety, go after drug traffickers’ profits, and save lives. Thanks to historic funding and bipartisan efforts, overdose death rates are flattening, access to treatment is expanding, and we are seizing historic amounts of fentanyl at our borders.

Read the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Drug Control Strategy HERE.

Read the fact sheet on the Strategy HERE.


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