Richmond, VA – Today, Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), traveled to Virginia to discuss efforts to address the overdose epidemic and save lives. Dr. Gupta met with Virginians on the frontlines of the overdose epidemic – including students, educators, health care providers, and regional law enforcement – 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.

“In his Unity Agenda, President Biden called on Americans to come together in a whole-of-society effort to beat the opioid crisis and save lives,” said Dr. Gupta. “It was heartening to meet with the Virginians who are taking action to reduce illicit drug trafficking and expand access to life-saving opioid overdose medication like naloxone across the Commonwealth. The Biden-Harris Administration has made addressing the nation’s overdose epidemic a top priority, and we are committed to working with state and local governments to ensure people have the tools and resources they need to beat this crisis firsthand.”

On Thursday, Dr. Gupta joined First Lady of Virginia Suzanne Youngkin at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) to tour the VCU Medical Center Emergency Department and meet with providers to learn about their innovative efforts to strengthen the transition from emergency services to outpatient care and ensure patients have access to life-saving overdose reversal medication. The VCU Medical Center Emergency Department trains staff and students to reverse opioid overdose, and makes naloxone available for employees, students, and patients.

While on campus, Dr. Gupta participated in a town hall with VCU School of Medicine Dean Dr. Arturo Saavedra, Addictions and Psychiatry Chair Dr. Gerry Moeller, Secretary of Health and Human Resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia John Littel, and Founder of 2EndTheStigma Jill Cichowicz to discuss VCU Health’s efforts to train the next generation of health care providers and help expand the substance use disorder workforce. During the townhall, Dr. Gupta recognized a new commitment made by VCU to join the White House Challenge to Save Lives from Overdose, 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.

In the afternoon, Dr. Gupta visited the Richmond Police Academy to meet with regional law enforcement leadership and members of the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program to announce more than $16 million in funding to help address the overdose epidemic, crack down on illicit drug trafficking, and reduce drug-related violence. This critical funding will help support law enforcement working to hold drug traffickers accountable, seize illicit drugs like fentanyl, prevent drug-related violence, and dismantle illicit finance operations.

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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