Breaking News Health & Wellness Living in Recovery

The 2022 National Drug Control Strategy to Address the Overdose Epidemic

The overdose epidemic has been hitting this country hard over the past year.

As of April 2022, approximately 106,854 Americans throughout the country have lost their lives to a drug overdose. As a response, on April 21st, 2022, President Biden had sent his Administration’s inaugural National Drug Control Strategy, which would deliver on the call to action in the President’s Unity Agenda through a whole-of-government approach to overcome the overdose epidemic. This strategy will consist of – as the White House details – two critical drivers of the epidemic: untreated addiction and drug trafficking. Federal agencies would be instructed to prioritize actions that will save lives, provides proper care to those who are in need, targets drug traffickers’ profits, and makes better use of data in order to best guide all these efforts

In the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, among the reported 41.1 million people who were in need of substance abuse disorder treatment, only 2.7 million – roughly 7% – of them received any sort of treatment at a specialty treatment facility. Though there are millions of Americans seeking the right sort of support and care to battle their addictions, there are not enough resources available to help them all. As stated by the White House, many of the key tools – such as naloxone and syringe services programs – are often restricted and/or underfunded at the community level, thus limiting access for people of the community who use drugs.

The President’s National Drug Control Strategy – as stated by the White House – is the first-ever approach to executing initiatives that are specifically tailored to meet people seeking services where they are and giving them the best course of action for care and treatment. Additionally, it acts as a call for action to expand access to evidence-based treatments, proven to reduce overdose risk and mortality. Lastly, the strategy focuses in on cultivating a system of stronger data collection and analysis systems in order to better launch public health interventions. More specifically, the White House states that the strategy would do the following:

  1. Expand high-impact harm reduction interventions like naloxone.
  2. Ensure those at the highest risk of an overdose can access evidence-based treatment.
  3. Improve data systems and research that guide drug policy development.
  4. Obstruct and disrupt financial activities of transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) that manufacture illicit drugs and traffic them in the U.S.
  5. Reduce the supply of illicit drugs through domestic collaboration and international coordination.
  6. Reduce the supply of illicit drugs smuggled across U.S. borders

The ultimate goal is to transition from having protocols that only focus on punishment, to now shifting the country to a mindset that provides individuals, their families, and the communities they reside in with treatment to overcome this crisis. With treatment expansion, the remaining 38.4 million drug users throughout the country who are longing for direction and care would finally have access to it. This strategy, once fully deployed, would push the country in the right direction when it comes to effectively addressing and deterring drug addiction on a national level.