According to the White House, U.S. President Joe Biden will announce that almost $1.5 billion will be allocated to supporting access to drugs to treat opioid overdoses, penalties for traffickers, and greater money for law enforcement.
The Biden administration is anxious to demonstrate that it is acting to address the nation’s escalating opioid crisis, which, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, contributed to more than 107,000 overdose deaths in 2021, an increase of almost 15% from the year before. In just a single year, there will be 108,000 overdose deaths in the country. That is one life lost every five minutes, nonstop, said Dr. Rahul Gupta, the White House’s head of national drug control policy.
The Biden-Harris administration is announcing several significant investments and initiatives to minimise overdose deaths, ensuring public health and law enforcement officers on the front lines have the tools they need, support people in recovery, and finally overcome this pandemic, Gupta said during a press call with reporters.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will announce funding totalling around $1.5 billion to tribal lands, states, and territories, according to Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, assistant secretary for mental health and substance use. According to Delphin-Rittmon, the money will be used to treat substance use disorders and remove obstacles to vital resources like naloxone, a drug that can reverse opioid overdoses.
As per her, the grants will also support overdose prevention programmes, peer support experts in emergency rooms, and treatment for disorders associated with stimulant use and misuse, such as cocaine and methamphetamine. According to Gupta, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will issue new recommendations to loosen naloxone limits.
Since patients are more likely to receive a medication if they have had a prior diagnosis of opioid misuse or reliance along with an overdose than if they have had those diagnoses without an overdose, there are currently legal obstacles restricting access to naloxone in some states, and in some it is not always available to those most at risk of an overdose.
In addition to the $275 million announced in April, Biden is proposing $12 million more in support for law enforcement in regions most affected by drug trafficking, as well as sanctions against individuals and organisations linked to drug cartels.