The White House releases the National Drug Control Strategy, advances access to addiction treatment and harm reduction services

Statement of Libby Jones, Program Director of the Overdose Prevention Initiative, Global Health Advocacy Incubator

April 22, 2022

Yesterday, the White House released its National Drug Control Strategy, aligning agencies behind a common mission to end the overdose crisis. By prioritizing evidence-based treatment and compassionate responses, the White House is advancing a national strategy that employs a government-wide approach to decreasing drug-related deaths. The Overdose Prevention Initiative at the Global Health Advocacy Incubator supports and applauds the commitment to reducing health disparities and expanding access to treatment and harm reduction services.

For the first time, the Strategy identifies harm reduction as a key defense in the fight to end overdose deaths. The Biden Administration’s plan to integrate harm reduction services into the U.S. health care system, if fully implemented, will be transformative. Eliminating barriers to naloxone and supporting syringe service programs (SSPs) will prevent injury, stop the spread of infectious disease, and save lives.

Currently, the inequities and disparities in addiction treatment have a devastating effect on millions of Americans. Black Americans with opioid use disorder (OUD) are less likely than white Americans to be prescribed buprenorphine, one of the three FDA-approved medications to treat opioid use disorder and prevent overdose, despite the fact that the rates of overdose fatality for Black Americans continue to rise steeply. Overdoses have increased sharply among Hispanic Americans, and Tribal communities have seen higher increases in overdose deaths than any other group in the United States. Treatment should not be determined by a person’s race, income, or ZIP code. The Strategy prioritizes increasing access to life-saving addiction care and ensuring equity in our treatment systems.

Above all, the Strategy indicates a dedication to evidence-based, scientific approaches to ending the overdose crisis. By incorporating the work of leading researchers and looking to the demonstrated outcomes of grassroots organizations, the Biden Administration is maintaining the quality of their approach to overdose prevention.

The National Drug Control Strategy is a push in the right direction for the U.S. We need a coordinated response from all levels of government to transform the system of support available to people who use drugs. The Overdose Prevention Initiative at the Global Health Advocacy Incubator looks forward to collaborating with federal agencies, subject matter experts, and our partners to enact policies and programs that prevent overdose and support people with addiction.

Established in 2021, the Overdose Prevention Initiative at the Global Health Advocacy Incubator advances policy solutions that save lives and end the U.S. overdose crisis. The Initiative is dedicated to reducing inequities and disparities in substance use disorder care and expanding access to harm reduction services and substance use disorder treatment.

The Overdose Prevention Initiative is funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies and is a partnership between the Global Health Advocacy Incubator and the Tobacco Free Kids Action Fund.

For questions, please contact Ben Orton-Vipond at