Atlanta, GA – This week, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Dr. Rahul Gupta traveled to Georgia to discuss efforts to address the overdose epidemic and save lives. Dr. Gupta met with individuals on the frontlines of the overdose epidemic – including health care providers, students, educators, state and local officials, law enforcement, and Tribal leaders – to discuss the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic actions and investments to tackle this epidemic, and highlight the critical partnerships needed at federal, state, and local levels to save lives.

“President Biden named beating the overdose epidemic a key priority of his Unity Agenda because he knew this was an issue where all Americans must come together and make progress for the nation,” said Dr. Gupta. “I am grateful for all of our partners in Georgia and across the country who are working tirelessly to address substance use disorder, expand opportunities for people in recovery, and crack down on illicit drug trafficking. Under President Biden’s leadership, our Administration will continue to take historic action, make unprecedented investments, and work with communities at every level so that we can make progress and save lives together.”

On Monday, Dr. Gupta visited the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Port of Entry at the Atlanta International Airport to meet with law enforcement officers and learn about their approach to keeping harmful drugs like fentanyl from entering the United States.

On Tuesday, Dr. Gupta visited the Georgia Harm Reduction Coalition, a statewide wellness organization serving 129 of Georgia’s 159 counties, to discuss the critical importance of expanding access to lifesaving treatment for substance use disorder. At the facility, he met with current patients and providers to hear about their substance use prevention programs and services. After the visit, Dr. Gupta joined Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Assistant Secretary Dr. Miriam Delphin-Rittmon at The Carter Center to discuss the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic efforts to expand access to treatment, and to announce a forthcoming new report detailing core elements for a substance use disorder curriculum.

On Wednesday, Dr. Gupta delivered keynote remarks at the 2024 Rx and Illicit Drug Summit, highlighting how the Biden-Harris Administration is making the greatest transformation in how we address substance use disorder and target illicit drug trafficking in the past 50 years, and is strengthening our whole-of-society response to address this public health and public safety crisis head-on. In support of these efforts, the Administration recently launched the White House Challenge to Save Lives from Overdose, and is issuing a nationwide call-to-action to stakeholders across all sectors to commit to save lives by increasing training on and access to life-saving opioid overdose reversal medications, like naloxone. At the Summit, Dr. Gupta announced that Atlanta Public Schools, which covers 50,000 students, has joined the White House Challenge. In addition to having naloxone available in their schools, they are now going to implement a district-wide training for all school staff to recognize and reverse overdoses.

At the Summit, Dr. Gupta hosted a roundtable discussion to hear from Tribal leaders on efforts to address substance use disorder, reduce overdoses, and expand access to treatment in Tribal communities. Dr. Gupta also hosted a roundtable with members of the corrections community to discuss actions the Administration has taken to support local and state efforts to expand access to treatment for substance use disorder in jails and prisons across the nation.

During his first State of the Union address, President Biden announced beating the overdose epidemic as a key pillar 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 efforts and crack down on illicit drug trafficking across the nation.


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