On April 21, the White House released its National Drug Control Strategy (the Strategy), a document developed by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) that outlines the administration’s approach to drug policy across and coordination with Congress. The Strategy, which is being released at a time when drug overdoses are at the highest level ever recorded, focuses on how the federal government can address untreated addiction and drug trafficking by building a stronger substance use disorder (SUD) treatment infrastructure and reducing the supply of illicit substances.
Addressing Untreated Addiction for Those At-Risk of an Overdose
The Strategy provides an overview of measures that would remove barriers to SUD treatment for individuals at risk of an overdose that include:
- Expanding high-impact harm reduction interventions such as naloxone, drug test strips and syringe services programs. The Strategy directs federal agencies to integrate harm reduction into the U.S. system of care to save lives and increase access to treatment. It also calls for collaboration on harm reduction between public health and public safety officials, and changes in state laws and policies to support the expansion of harm reduction efforts across the country.
- Ensuring those at highest risk of an overdose can access evidence-based treatment that has shown to reduce overdose risk and mortality. The Strategy calls on federal agencies to improve treatment quality to those that are at-risk of an overdose while at the same time strengthen the treatment workforce and infrastructure.
- Improving data systems and research that guide drug policy development to deploy public health interventions better. The Strategy directs relevant agencies to strengthen existing data systems, establish new data systems, and enhance the usefulness of drug data for practitioners, researchers and policymakers.
Addressing Drug Trafficking and Illicit Drug Profits
As Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) and drug traffickers continue to produce new synthetic drugs and refine their distribution techniques, the Strategy prioritizes a targeted response to these organizations’ supply chains and financial networks. Building off the President’s FY 2023 budget request for a $300 million increase to support the work of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Strategy aims to target drug trafficking and production in the following ways:
- Obstruct and disrupt financial activities of TCOs that manufacture illicit drugs and traffic them into the United States. The Strategy plans to uncover and target financial networks to disrupt TCO’s cash flow, supply chains and trafficking operations into the U.S.
- Reduce the supply of illicit drugs through domestic collaboration and international coordination. The Strategy directs the U.S. to strengthen its domestic response through increasing collaboration across its federal agencies.
Additionally, the Strategy directs federal agencies to expand efforts around prevention and treatment accessibility for vulnerable populations such as school-aged children and justice-involved individuals. The Strategy also includes specific actions to improve access to medication-assisted treatment in jails and prisons, identify ways to divert non-violent individuals from the criminal justice system to treatment and improve the reentry process to help reintegrate people into society after incarceration.
On May 7, ONDCP released a supplemental plan to the Strategy that outlines a path forward for effective public health and public safety interventions to address the use of methamphetamine, due to rising reports of overdose deaths involving psychostimulants, including methamphetamine in local communities.
To view the full Strategy, click here.