White House Releases Strategy To Tackle Record Overdoses
President Joe Biden's plan emphasizes harm reduction, urging states and local agencies to take steps to prevent deaths and illness while helping drug users to get treatment. Improving access to clean needles, fentanyl test strips and naloxone are examples.
Biden Drug Control Plan Stresses Harm Reduction, Treatment
President Joe Biden is sending his administration’s first national drug control strategy to Congress as the U.S. overdose death toll hit a new record of nearly 107,000 during the past 12 months. The strategy, released Thursday, is the first national plan to prioritize what’s known as harm reduction, said White House drug czar Dr. Rahul Gupta. That means it focuses on preventing death and illness in drug users while trying to engage them in care and treatment. (Johnson, 4/21)
Drug Overdose Deaths Are At A Record High. Here's What The White House Plans To Do
In its first detailed plan to slow the rise in drug overdose deaths, the Biden administration is emphasizing harm reduction. That means increasing access to clean needles, fentanyl test strips and naloxone. Clean needles help reduce the spread of disease. Fentanyl test strips enable drug users to check if they are about to consume this powerful opioid that can shut down breathing in seconds. Naloxone is a drug that can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose. (Bebinger, 4/21)
White House Unveils National Drug Control Strategy Amid Rising Overdoses
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. (Sullivan, 4/21)
In related news about the opioid crisis —
Philadelphia Overdoses Could Be Helped By A Biden Administration Drug Policy
The Biden administration on Thursday released its first national drug strategy, aimed at curbing overdose deaths — which now exceed over 100,000 a year — and focusing on expanding services designed to reduce the harmful effects of opioid addiction. The administration says it will work to enhance access to treatment and address long-standing racial inequities in drug investigations and arrests. President Joe Biden’s plan also pledged to expand harm reduction access and medication-assisted drug treatment in prisons, while targeting drug-trafficking organizations and “reducing the supply” of illicit drugs in the U.S. with requests for hundreds of millions of dollars in budget raises for border control agents and the Drug Enforcement Administration. (Whelan, 4/21)
Opioid Crisis Settlements: NYC Gets $256 Million From Big Pharma
New York City will receive up to $256 million to tackle the city’s opioid crisis, Mayor Eric Adams and New York Attorney General Letitia James said Thursday. “Today marks a significant milestone in our collective fight to combat the opioid crisis -- a scourge on the state,” James said during a briefing at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan. “These funds will have an immediate impact on our communities and for individuals on the ground who are struggling with drug addiction.” (Woodhouse, 4/21)
Overdose Rescue At Walmart: Former Fentanyl Users Just Happened To Have Life-Saving Narcan In Their Car
You may know about Narcan, the opioid overdose antidote that is saving lives. The question we might ask is, should all Americans keep it handy? What if no one we know is really in danger of opioid overdose, as far as we know? Here is one good reason. Because an overdose emergency can present itself anywhere, without warning. Anywhere, even the grocery store, while you’re perusing magazines in the checkout line. It happened that way at about 7:30 p.m. Monday evening for Cheyenne Nunley and Isaiah Ramirez, boyfriend and girlfriend, former admitted fentanyl users themselves, both 20. They were at the East Hills Walmart buying the fixings for homemade enchiladas. In line, ready to check out – when someone burst out of the men’s restroom. A man was inside, frothing at the mouth, overdosing. (Price, 4/20)
Father Who Lost Daughter To Fentanyl Demands Action On Border: 'She Didn't Overdose, She Was Poisoned'
Matt Capelouto warned the spike in fentanyl-related deaths should be treated as a "national security threat" on "Fox & Friends First." "I think there's a misconception that this is a… drug problem and this has to be looked at more as a national security threat," Capelouto told co-host Carley Shimkus. "We have people dying from this before they even have a chance to get addicted." Capelouto lost his daughter in 2019 during her college winter break in Southern California after she took a fentanyl-laced Oxycodone pill. Capelouto said his then 20-year-old daughter was studying on a full academic scholarship at Arizona State University.
In other news from the Biden administration —
San Francisco Chronicle:
VP Kamala Harris Decries U.S. Maternal Health Care Crisis In S.F. Visit, Praises UCSF Program
The United States is facing a maternal health crisis, with the highest maternal death rate among wealthy nations and particularly high rates among Black women, Vice President Kamala Harris said during a visit to UCSF medical facilities in San Francisco on Thursday. The country must make solving the crisis a national priority, she said. “It is real and it is impacting so many women and their families and communities,” Harris said after touring UCSF’s perinatal care program for Black families, called EMBRACE, located at the medical center’s Mission Bay campus. “A big factor that contributes to these outcomes is system inequities, the differences in how people are treated based on who they are or where they live.” (Ho, 4/21)