Healthcare

White House unveils national drug control strategy amid rising overdoses

Opioids
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Oxycodone pain pills prescribed for a patient with chronic pain lie on display on March 23, 2016 in Norwich, CT. 

The Biden administration on Thursday is sending its National Drug Control Strategy to Congress, amid a record level of drug overdoses.  

The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate there were over 106,000 deaths from drug overdoses in the United States in the 12 months ending in November 2021, a figure that has been steadily rising in recent years, particularly during the pandemic.  

Rahul Gupta, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said on a call with reporters that many of the deaths are due to synthetic opioids like fentanyl, but also pointed to meth and cocaine.

“This is the most dynamic drug environment we have ever seen in this nation,” he said.  

“For far too many years, the overdose crisis has been unraveling the very social fabric of our nation and destroying American lives and livelihoods,” Gupta added.  

The White House plan is centered on increasing treatment for addiction while also fighting trafficking for drugs. It calls for greater access to naloxone, a drug to fight overdoses that first responders can carry.  

It also includes measures aimed at boosting treatment for people at highest risk for overdoses, “which includes people experiencing homelessness [and] those who are incarcerated or re-entering society,” the White House said.  

Gupta noted that President Biden’s budget calls for a $3 billion increase for drug control efforts. “We need Congress to take action on this funding as soon as possible,” he said.  

Biden’s proposed budget calls for $300 million increases for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which would aid in the strategy’s plans to disrupt trafficking of drugs across the border.  

The plan also comes as a range of legal settlements with opioid makers and drug distributors is providing new funding to states to be able to put toward fighting the epidemic.  

For example, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) on Wednesday announced the distribution of the first round of payments to counties as part of the $1.5 billion in state settlements with opioid manufacturers and distributors.  

Tags Biden Joe Biden

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

Most Popular

Load more

Video

See all Video