Drug overdoses in America have continued to hit record levels, with the CDC estimating that 106,854 people died due to drug overdose in the 12 months ending November 2021. Annual drug overdose deaths have more than doubled over the past six years. According to CNN, the White House will present President Joe Biden’s first National Drug Control Strategy.
The White House plan is centered on increasing treatment for addiction while also fighting the trafficking of drugs. The pillars are to prioritize harm reduction, access to substance use disorder treatment, and the disruption of drug trafficking organizations and will ramp up data collection related to drug policy. It will also call for greater access to naloxone, a drug to fight overdoses that first responders can carry.
President Biden’s roadmap also includes measures aimed at boosting treatment for people at the highest risk for overdoses, “which includes people experiencing homelessness and those who are incarcerated or re-entering society,” the White House said. Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Rahul Gupta, calls this expansive effort “the first to prioritize harm reduction in the nation’s history.”
“For far too many years, the overdose crisis has been unraveling the very social fabric of our nation and destroying American lives and livelihoods. Biden’s inaugural National Drug Control Strategy delivers on his Unity Agenda — a call to action to beat the overdose epidemic. It recognizes that this is not a red state issue or blue state issue. This is America’s issue,” Gupta said.
With the President’s strategy, Gupta said that the US “will double treatment admissions for populations most at risk of overdose deaths and ensure universal access to medications for opioid use disorder by 2025.”
President Biden’s proposed budget calls for a $3 billion increase for drug control efforts, including an increase in funding for drug enforcement and for US Customs and Border Protection.
“We have to hit the drug traffickers where it hurts them the most, and that’s their wallet. Through this strategy, we will work to more than triple the number of drug traffickers sanctioned and increase our border security,” he said.