HHS Releases Overdose Prevention Strategy

On October 27th, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released their new, treatment-focused Overdose Prevention Strategy to address the rising trend in drug overdoses and overdose deaths in the United States. HHS’s strategy will center on four target areas – primary prevention, harm reduction, evidence-based treatment, and recovery support – to increase access to integrated care and treatment services. HSS intends to build on the Biden-Harris Administration drug policy priorities for year one and their strategy highlights additional priorities to help prevent substance use and expand access to quality treatment, including an increased commitment to historically underserved communities and bolstering grassroots harm reduction and recovery efforts with federal support. In a press release, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said, “With this new strategy, we’re breaking new ground to address the full range of drug use and addiction that can result in overdose and death. We’re changing the way we address overdoses. Our new strategy focuses on people — putting the very individuals who have struggled with addiction in positions of power. And thanks to the American Rescue Plan, we can address what so many people have seen in recent years: a rise in overdoses that can risk a person’s life – and affect their entire family.”

Articles & Resources

HHS – HHS Secretary Becerra Announces New Overdose Prevention Strategy

HSS Overdose Prevention Strategy

Senate Confirms Dr. Rahul Gupta as ONDCP Director

On October 28th, the Senate confirmed the nomination of Dr. Rahul Gupta, who President Joseph Biden nominated in July to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and tackle the challenges of the current opioid crisis. Dr. Gupta previously served as Chief Medical & Health Officer at March of Dimes and the State Health Officer for West Virginia. In a statement, Dr. Gupta said, “As a practicing physician and former health official who has served in rural communities, I have seen firsthand the heartbreaking toll of addiction and overdose in our communities, but I have also seen how we can save lives if we understand the individuals behind the statistics and meet them where they are. President Biden has made clear that addressing addiction and the overdose epidemic is an urgent priority. As Director, I will diligently work to advance high-quality, data-driven strategies to make our communities healthier and safer.” Dr. Gupta would be the first medical doctor in the role. ONDCP is a component of the Executive Office of the President and is responsible for coordinating federal drug policy. The head of ONDCP runs the office and reports to the President.

Articles & Resources

13 WOWK – Dr. Rahul Gupta confirmed as Director of National Drug Control Policy

Bloomberg Government – Senate Confirms Drug Czar Rahul Gupta, First Physician in Job

Drug Diversion Prevention Bill Passes Both Chambers, Moves to the President’s Desk

On October 27th, the Senate passed the Ensuring Compliance Against Drug Diversion Act of 2021. Congressmen Morgan Griffith (VA-09) and Ben Cline (VA-06) introduced the bill in March and it passed the House of Representatives in April. The bill would require that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) terminate an entity’s registration to manufacture or dispense controlled substances if the entity discontinues its work, and would also prevent the modification or transfer of the registration. In a press release, Congressman Griffith said, “Lapses in the registration of manufacturers, distributors, and sellers of legal opioids may have contributed to the epidemic of abuse and death that has ravaged our communities. My bill, the Ensuring Compliance Against Drug Diversion Act, would reform Drug Enforcement Agency regulations to prevent these lapses from occurring in the future. I am proud that both the House and the Senate have now on a bipartisan basis advanced this measure to improve oversight over opioids and prevent future abuses, and I look forward to its enactment in the near future.”

Articles & Resources

Bill Text

Congressman Morgan Griffith – Griffith Bill to Prevent Opioid Abuse Passes Senate, Heads to President’s Desk

CDC Launches Overdose Prevention Campaign

In response to the rise in drug overdose deaths in the United States, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched four education campaigns that highlight fentanyl hidden in drugs, the risks of mixing drugs, the benefits of naloxone, and the positive effect that reducing stigma has on people in recovery and treatment. The complementary campaigns, which the CDC developed to target young adults ages 18-34, include newly developed resources that support overdose prevention efforts by helping individuals find help and make better informed decisions about drug use and treatment. In a press release, CDC’s Acting Principal Deputy Director, Dr. Debra Houry said, “This critical information can help all of us save a life from overdose and support people who use drugs in treatment and recovery.” The education campaigns and related materials can be found here.

Articles & Resources

CDC – CDC Launches New Education Campaign Aimed at Preventing Drug Overdose Deaths

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.

CNN – Biden speaks with potential FDA commissioner

Congressman Mike Turner – Turner Joins Colleagues in Supporting Opioid Addiction Treatment in Correctional Facilities

Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. – Congressman Bishop Highlights More Than $1 Million in Federal Funds to Help Columbus Area Youth

DEA – Department of Justice Announces Results of Operation Dark HunTor

FDA – International Law Enforcement Operation Targeting Opioid Traffickers on the Darknet Results in 150 Arrests Worldwide and the Seizure of Weapons, Drugs, and over $31 Million

OCCRP – US Court Sentences Doctor for Unnecessary Opioid Distribution

Psychiatric News – High-Dose Buprenorphine in the ED Effective for OUD

SAMHSA – SAMHSA releases 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health

Senator Jeanne Shaheen – Shaheen Applauds New Federal Strategy on Overdose Prevention Announced by Biden Administration

Senator Maggie Hassan – In Letter to Senators, FDA Says it Failed to Follow Up After Media Reports Revealed McKinsey’s Potential Conflicts of Interest in Relation to Opioid Crisis

Senator Shelley Moore Capito – Capito, Manchin Announce Funding For Youth Substance Use Prevention In Elkview

STAT – A new index measures the extent and depth of addiction stigma

The Daily Tarheel – NCDHHS announces new funding opportunity to prevent opioid overdoses

The Hill – International operation leads to 150 arrests in internet opioid trafficking bust

This Week’s Calendar

In the week ahead, there are no relevant events or hearings noticed at this time. In the event that there are any changes to the schedule for this week, we will make additional information available.

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