Dr. Gupta travels to Tulalip Tribes Indian Reservation in Washington state to hear from Tribal leaders and discuss efforts to come together and beat the overdose epidemic

Tulalip, WA – White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Dr. Rahul Gupta participated in the first-ever National Tribal Opioid Summit on the Tulalip Tribes Indian Reservation in Washington state last week. The summit was led by the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board. Dr. Gupta spoke on a panel entitled “We Must Work Together to Address this Crisis,” along with other senior Biden-Harris Administration officials from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and Indian Health Service (IHS).

“When it comes to beating the opioid crisis which has devastated so many families across Tribal Nations, we must double down and recommit ourselves to the work of saving lives,” said Dr. Gupta. “It was an honor to join the Tulalip Tribes to discuss how we must come together to promote healing and bring lasting solutions to the opioid epidemic and addiction at large. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ensuring Tribal Nations get the support they need to beat this crisis, build healthy communities, and thrive.”

“Addiction is not unique to Native America,” said Tulalip Chair Teri Gobin. “It’s an epidemic facing our entire nation, and it will take our entire nation to fix it. We can’t just set our sights on a single solution. We have to think holistically; take care of every aspect of health – physical, mental, and emotional, and repair how our people live and belong within their communities to move them to a place of wellness.”

During the summit, Dr. Gupta heard directly from members of Tribal Nations and discussed the urgency in addressing this public health crisis. The panel discussed ways Tribal Nations, federal and state policy makers, and national and regional Tribal organizations can come together to address the fentanyl crisis in our communities. Dr. Gupta also outlined the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to helping support Tribal Nations tackle the overdose epidemic. He spoke about recent investments in Tribal Nations, including President Biden’s supplemental budget request, which requests $50 million for the Indian Health Service for prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery interventions in Tribal communities. The funding, distributed through the State Opioid Response grant program, has provided treatment services to over 1.2 million people and helped reverse more than 400,000 overdoses.

Following the summit, Dr. Gupta met with leaders from the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) to learn about how they are utilizing federal resources to support Tribes, address opioid use disorder, and expand access to evidence-based prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery support services.

While on the Tulalip Indian Reservation, Dr. Gupta also visited the Quil Ceda Creek Counseling Center to tour the facility and hear from Tulalip families who have lost a loved one to an overdose, government officials, substance use treatment providers, as well as the Chief of Police. He learned firsthand about the strengths and challenges the Tulalip Tribes are facing on the Reservation. Dr. Gupta emphasized President Biden’s unwavering commitment to ensuring Tribal Nations get the support they need to beat the opioid epidemic and build strong, resilient communities.


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