Washington, D.C. – On International Overdose Awareness Day, Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Dr. Rahul Gupta, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Mandy Cohen hosted a meeting at the White House with families from across the country who have lost loved ones to drug overdose.
Family members shared their personal experiences with substance use disorder and drug overdose, and stressed the critical importance of increasing access to substance use prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery support services. They spoke about their efforts to raise awareness about the dangers of illicit drugs, including counterfeit pills and fentanyl, and the life-saving effects of overdose reversal medications like naloxone.
Earlier in the day, the Administration announced more than $450 million in new funding to help to strengthen prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support services and crack down on illicit drug trafficking in support of President Biden’s Unity Agenda.
During this convening, the Second Gentleman highlighted the new funding and thanked the family members for their courageous work to beat the overdose epidemic and save lives. He expressed the need to expand mental health and substance use disorder services across the country, and spoke about President Biden and Vice President Harris’ tireless work to address this crisis since day one of this Administration. Dr. Gupta spoke about his experience as a physician treating patients with opioid use disorder and the President’s commitment to taking bold action to save lives in memory of those who have been lost to this crisis. Dr. Cohen highlighted $279 million in Overdose Data to Action (OD2A) grants to states and localities to expand harm reduction strategies, link people to life-saving care, and make the latest data available so that we can get ahead of the constantly evolving overdose crisis.
President Biden declared August 27 through September 2 as Overdose Awareness Week. During this week of recognition, the Biden-Harris Administration reaffirms our commitment to beating this epidemic — in memory of those we have lost and to protect the lives we can still save.