Statement from Secretary Becerra on International Overdose Awareness Day

Secretary announces new overdose prevention funding.

Drug overdose does not discriminate – rich or poor, Black or white, urban or suburban, drug overdoses reach every corner of our society. On this Overdose Awareness Day, we reflect on the toll that substance misuse takes, both in terms of lives lost and the immeasurable pain it brings to families and communities.

Under the leadership of President Biden, we are beating the overdose epidemic. Through the HHS Overdose Prevention Strategy, which delivers on the call to action in President Biden’s Unity Agenda for a whole-of-government approach to beat the overdose epidemic, HHS is focused on the full range of solutions needed to address addiction including, for the first-time as part of a federal strategy, harm reduction strategies and long-term recovery supports.

The Biden-Harris Administration has already invested billions of dollars and significant expertise towards these efforts. Funds have been used to establish and expand Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, which provide crisis services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to anyone who requests care for behavioral health, help rural communities address difficulties they face in providing and accessing buprenorphine – a life-saving medication to treat opioid use disorder that can be prescribed in routine health care settings – and other critical services.

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is committing additional resources to help advance President Biden’s call to beat the overdose epidemic as part of his Unity Agenda for the nation. The awards include:

  • The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is delivering more than $80 million in awards to rural communities in 39 states to support key strategies to respond to the overdose risk from fentanyl and other opioids. The awards will go to expanding access to Medications to treat Opioid Use Disorder, supporting rural communities in preventing and responding to overdoses, meeting the behavioral health needs of young people, preventing and addressing neonatal exposure, and investing in and disseminating best practices.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is announcing $279 million in Overdose Data to Action (OD2A) awards to states and localities to expand harm reduction strategies, link people to life-saving care, and make the latest data available so that we can get ahead of the constantly evolving drug overdose crisis. For the first time, in addition to funding state health departments to prevent drug overdose, CDC is providing funding to directly support city, county, and territorial health departments, to help with collecting and using data to inform action, engaging with people with lived experience, and addressing health disparities. Funded recipients will be able to respond more quickly, more effectively, and more equitably to their constituents’ needs, using and translating data to drive action steps that reduce overdose deaths and related harms in communities as fast as possible.
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is awarding $57.6 million across five grant programs to connect Americans who misuse substances to recovery and treatment supports. The programs support peer recovery support services; delivery of state and local recovery support services through collaboration; evidence-based programs to support individuals in treatment and recovery to live independently and participate in the workforce’ recruitment and training programs for EMS personnel in rural areas with a particular focus on addressing substance use and co-occurring disorders; and the establishment of comprehensive treatment and recovery centers – which provide a full spectrum of treatment, harm reduction, and recovery support services to address the opioid epidemic and to ensure access to all three Food and Drug Administration-approved Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD).

On this Overdose Awareness Day, we remember the lives of countless individuals and their loved ones who have been impacted by substance use disorder. We are also reminded that overdoses are not inevitable if we stand together to help those who need an outstretched hand.

To the people struggling with substance use and addiction I say this: You are not alone. We are in this together and we have your back.

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