The Biden Administration revealed its first-year plan to address the nation’s addiction crisis, with 7 priorities highlighted and a focus on the inequality of treatment access.
In a video message delivered during the 10th annual Drug and Heroin Summit, President Biden noted that fatal opioid overdoses surged last year as the global health crisis deepened.
“In the shadow of a pandemic that has occupied our attention and has claimed more than a half-million lives, we can’t lose sight of these other epidemics, of the overdose crises,” he said. “COVID-19 has made this situation a lot worse.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 88,000 Americans died from overdoses during the 12-month period beginning in August 2019 — a 27% jump from the previous year.
The surge was driven in part by “rising isolation and financial insecurity” fueled by the pandemic, the president said, adding, “We need to meet this crisis with urgent action.”
Biden, who called drug addiction a “deeply personal” issue for his family, said his administration is committed to expanding access to drug treatment and to “reducing the supply of illicit substances coming into the United States.”
The American Rescue Plan that was signed into law last month includes $4 billion for mental health and substance abuse care, $1.5 billion for prevention and treatment and $400 million to support community behavioral health clinics.
The 7 priorities are as follows:
1) Expanding access to evidence-based treatment
2) Advancing racial equity in our approach to drug policy
3) Enhancing evidence-based harm reduction efforts
4) Supporting evidence-based prevention efforts to reduce youth substance use
5) Reducing the supply of illicit substances
6) Advancing recovery-ready workplaces and expanding the addiction workforce; and
7) Expand access to recovery support services.