Biden Administration Takes Aim at Addiction Epidemic

The Biden Administration released a statement on April that outlined their first-year approach for tackling the rising addiction and overdose problem exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The 7 priorities of the approach are to:

  1. Expand access to evidence-based treatment. This involves a conducting a thorough review of current policies, making medication used to treat opioid addiction and withdrawal more accessible, improving accessibility of drug treatment in incarcerated populations, etc.
  2. Advance racial equity in their approach to drug policy. This requires identifying and rectifying gaps in data collection, expanding access to treatment in underserved communities, and criminal justice and drug policy reform.
  3. Enhance evidence-based harm reduction efforts. Harm reduction concerns include improving access to naloxone (an opioid overdose reversal drug), needle-exchange programs, and fentanyl test strips.
  4. Support evidence-based prevention efforts to reduce youth substance use. This involves researching current prevention programs, updating these programs, and capitalizing on opportunities to reduce drug use among young people.
  5. Reduce the supply of illicit substances. The administration plans to work with foreign governments, internet providers, and local law enforcement agencies to target and disrupt drug trafficking.
  6. Advance recovery-ready workplaces and expand the addiction workforce by identifying and removing barriers to employment among people in recovery, expanding job opportunities in the field of addiction recovery.
  7. Expand access to recovery support services. This involves the creation, expansion, and improvement of housing, community centers, and school programs aimed at supporting people in recovery.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) will work with federal, state, and local government and law enforcement agencies to target these goals.

This release follows the administration’s allocation of $4 billion to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) under the American Rescue Plan.

The SAMHSA is allocating $1.65 billion for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant—an existing program that provides funding in all states and territories targeting drug abuse prevention, addiction treatment in pregnant women and mothers, people that use intravenous drugs, and provides health services for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis patients. $825 million will be directed toward the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHBG), which provides aid to adults and children living with mental, behavioral, or emotional illnesses. Approximately half of people with substance use disorder also struggle with another form of psychological disorder and vice versa.

The negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental and behavioral health are still being realized. Advocates hope that these efforts will curb the surge in drug and alcohol addiction and overdoses seen in many states.

While times have been difficult lately, there is hope: addiction is a treatable disease. Many people just need professional help to safely withdraw from a substance and learn the skills necessary for long-term recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling, please reach out to an admissions navigator at to learn about treatment at Greenhouse or other American Addiction Centers’ (AAC) facilities.

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