White House Announces FY20 Drug-Free Communities Grants

On Thursday, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced that it would be continuing the grants for 340 programs within the Drug-Free Communities (DFC) initiative. In total, this amounts to more than $42 million in direct funding to community-based coalitions focused on issues related to youth substance misuse and abuse.

Upon announcing the grant allocations, ONDCP Director Jim Carroll noted, “In order to create safe and healthy places for the next generation to thrive, it is critical to connect with our communities’ children now and educate them about the dangers of substance use. The Drug-Free Communities, administered across the United States by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, are proven prevention programs tailored to do just that, meeting the local needs in each community with evidence-based prevention strategies.”

ONDCP has indicated that the second tranche of DFC grant funding will be announced in the coming months.

Articles & Resources

White House Newsroom – Trump Administration Announces First Phase of FY 2020 Drug-Free Communities Grants Awards to Community Coalitions Across the Country

CDC Data Finds Illicit Drugs Present in Majority of OD Deaths

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a new Vital Signs on Friday that outlined the overall characteristics defining drug overdose deaths for prescription and synthetic opioids and stimulants over the six month period beginning January 2019. In nearly 84% of overdose deaths during that time period, illicit fentanyl, heroin, cocaine or methamphetamines were implicated, either alone or in combination, with nearly two-thirds (62.7%) resulting in death. Across 24 states and the District of Columbia, a total of 16,236 overdose deaths were catalogued; 19% involved opioids alone; 33% included opioids and stimulants and 13% included stimulants alone. Fentanyl was involved in three-quarters of opioid-related overdose deaths and four-in-five cases involved at least one opioid product.

Articles & Resources

CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report – Vital Signs: Characteristics of Drug Overdose Deaths Involving Opioids and Stimulants — 24 States and the District of Columbia, January–June 2019

NIDA Leadership Outlines Research Priorities During COVID

In JAMA Psychiatry last week, NIDA leaders including Drs. Nora Volkow, Wilson Compton and Carlos Blanco outlined the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on treatment and research related to substance use disorders. In particular, the healthcare delivery system has had to shift operations to better address vulnerable populations, improve care access, availability and affordability, and strengthen data collection efforts. The article advocates for a rigorous analysis of the changes made during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to better understand which practices should remain in place once the pandemic threat has been abated, which should remain in the armamentarium for future crises, and which proved to be ineffective. Furthermore, these initiatives may also aim at reducing discrepancies in treatment and recovery initiatives across racial and socioeconomic classes.

Articles & Resources

JAMA Psychiatry – Opportunities for Research on the Treatment of Substance Use Disorders in the Context of COVID-19

What We Read Last Week

Several articles were published last week pertaining to the opioid epidemic, covering a variety of different components of the issue. Links to relevant articles are provided below.

Articles & Resources

STAT News – How OneFifteen, Verily’s Addiction Medicine Campus, Is Taking Shape

USA Today – Babies Born in Opioid Withdrawal are on the Rise in Rural Communities

Major League Baseball – Emergent BioSolutions Teams up with Philadelphia Phillies & MAPDA to Highlight Importance of Overdose Reversal Medicines on International Overdose Awareness Day

ABC News – Deadly Opioid ‘ISO’ Implicated in At Least 19 Overdoses in US After China Bans Fentanyl

CNN – MTV’s ’16 and Recovering’ is Stark Look at Young Addiction

Bloomberg – Mental Health Coverage Bill Sails Through California Legislature

ABC News – COVID-19 Exacerbates an Already Fractured Opioid Addiction Treatment Framework

News Medical – New Algorithm Can Help Spot Illicit Online Pharmacies

WGME – Virtual Drug Treatment During Pandemic Makes Fighting Addiction Even harder for Mainers

NorthJersey.com – New Jersey Tries to End Doctor-Shopping for Opioid Prescriptions

Anthem Newsroom – Anthem Affiliated Health Plans More Than Doubled the Number of Consumers Receiving Whole-Person Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

White House Newsroom – Readout from The White House National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month Event

HHS Newsroom – Spotlight on Naloxone Co-Prescribing

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York – Acting USA Announces Extradition Of Dominican Citizen For Narcotics Trafficking Through Sham Internet Pharmacy

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania – Controlled Substance Disposal Company Pays to Resolve Allegations of Civil Liability

This Week’s Calendar

The House and Senate have no opioid-related hearings or events scheduled at this time as they remain in August recess pending any further advances related to a comprehensive pandemic response. In the instance that there are any changes to the schedule for this week, we will make additional information available.

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