Dr. Gupta meets with Ohioans on the frontlines of the opioid crisis to discuss federal, state and local efforts to strengthen public health and public safety

Columbus, OH – Last week, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Dr. Rahul Gupta traveled to Ohio to highlight the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to address the overdose epidemic and save lives. During the week, Dr. Gupta met with Ohioans leading the community response to the overdose epidemic – including health care providers, law enforcement, state and local officials, students, and educators – to discuss the Administration’s historic investments in public health and public safety, and highlight the critical partnership between federal, state, and local levels to tackle this crisis and save lives.

The Biden-Harris Administration has made addressing the nation’s overdose epidemic a top priority. 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 all Americans can come together and make progress for the nation. Over the past three years, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken historic actions and made historic investments to strengthen public health and public safety efforts and crack down on illicit drug trafficking across the nation.

Under President Biden’s leadership, Ohio has received more than $1.6 billion in federal funding – a historical level of commitment – to address this crisis. After years of rapid increases in the overdose death rate during 2019 – 2021, the overdose death rate in Ohio decreased by five percent in 2022.

“President Biden’s Unity Agenda for the Nation calls on all Americans to come together in a whole-of-society effort to beat the overdose epidemic and save lives,” said Dr. Gupta. “It was an honor to meet with health care providers, law enforcement, state and local elected officials, students, faculty, and community leaders in Ohio who are taking critical steps that help advance the President’s National Drug Control Strategy and save lives. Strong partnerships across the federal, state, local, and community levels are critical in this effort. Working together, we will continue to reduce overdoses, treat substance use disorder, crack down on drug trafficking, support our nation’s youth, and build a more recovery-ready nation.”

On Tuesday, Dr. Gupta was in Columbus to meet with local, state, and federal law enforcement leaders from the Ohio High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program to hear about their efforts to disrupt drug trafficking and reduce overdose deaths across Ohio. In the afternoon, Dr. Gupta participated in a roundtable discussion with students and faculty at The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Medicine on actions the Biden-Harris Administration has taken to support our nation’s youth, and efforts by the medical school community to reduce drug overdose and poisonings across campus. While at OSU, Dr. Gupta met with the Higher Education Center on Alcohol and Other Drugs (HECAOD) staff to learn about their work to address substance use and prevent overdose among college students.

On Wednesday, Dr. Gupta toured Hikma Pharmaceuticals with local community advocates, and discussed the critical importance of expanding access to lifesaving overdose reversal medications like naloxone. After the tour, Dr. Gupta joined Ohio Citizen Advocates for Addiction Recovery (OCAAR) for a town hall to discuss new resources from the Biden-Harris Administration to support recovery for people with substance use disorder, and learn about efforts by the recovery community to address the opioid crisis in Ohio. In the afternoon, Dr. Gupta met with Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and bipartisan members of the Ohio State Legislature to learn about their overdose prevention efforts and priorities for addressing mental health and substance use disorder across the state.

On Thursday, Dr. Gupta joined Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan in Cincinnati for a roundtable discussion with law enforcement officials to hear about their work to prevent overdoses and connect people with substance use disorder to treatment. Later in the morning, Dr. Gupta toured the DHL Express Hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport to see firsthand their parcel interdiction efforts and learn about their coordinated work to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations (DTOs). In the afternoon, Dr. Gupta met with Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus and local officials from the Hamilton County Addiction Response Coalition Steering Committee for a roundtable discussion about their efforts to address substance use disorder and reduce overdoses. After the roundtable, Dr. Gupta joined health care providers at the University of Cincinnati for a roundtable discussion on their work to expand access to addiction treatment and prevention services for substance use disorder.


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