This is being called an “urgent public health crisis,” but it’s one that doesn’t get enough attention. Now, how’s this for a wake-up call. The New York Times reports:
More than 87,000 Americans died of drug overdoses over the 12-month period that ended in September, according to preliminary federal data, eclipsing the toll from any year since the opioid epidemic began in the 1990s.
Earlier this month the acting director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Regina LaBelle, said drug deaths increased by 26.8% during the pandemic. NPR reports “Americans age 35 to 44 appear most at risk.” According to the New York Times, “unlike in the early years of the opioid epidemic, when deaths were largely among white Americans in rural and suburban areas, the current crisis is affecting Black Americans disproportionately.”
The White House writes that it’s taking “a bold approach to reducing overdoses and saving lives.” Some of the administration’s drug policy priorities include expanded access to evidence-based treatment, advancing racial equity issues related to drug policy, prevention efforts to reduce youth substance use, and expanding access to recovery support services.