"We're partnering with communities to prevent drug use, reduce overdose deaths, help people get treatment. And under the Affordable Care Act, more health plans have to cover substance abuse disorders. The budget that I sent Congress would invest in things like state overdose prevention programs, preparing more first responders to save more lives, and expanding medication assisted treatment programs. - President Obama, Charleston, West Virginia, October 21, 2015
The Obama Administration's first National Drug Control Strategy, published in 2010, charted a new course in efforts to reduce illicit drug use and its consequences in the United States. Science has shown that a substance use disorder is not a moral failing but rather a disease of the brain that can be prevented and treated. Informed by this basic understanding, the annual Strategies that followed have promoted a balance of evidence-based public health and safety initiatives. The 2015 Strategy focuses on seven core areas:
- Preventing drug use in our communities;
- Seeking early intervention opportunities in health care;
- Integrating treatment for substance use disorders into health care and supporting recovery;
- Breaking the cycle of drug use, crime, and incarceration;
- Disrupting domestic drug trafficking and production;
- Strengthening international partnerships; and
- Improving information systems to better address drug use and its consequences.
The Strategy emphasizes the Administration's commitment to confronting the prescription drug misuse and heroin epidemic. In 2010, the President's first Strategy emphasized the need for action to address opioid use disorders and overdose, while ensuring that individuals with pain receive safe, effective treatment. The next year, the White House released its national Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan to outline goals for addressing prescription drug abuse and overdose. The President's Fiscal Year 2016 budget included $133 million in new investments aimed at addressing the opioid epidemic, including expanding state-level prescription drug overdose prevention strategies, medication-assisted treatment programs, and access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone.
Beyond its function as a guide for shaping Federal policy, the Strategy is a useful resource for anyone interested in learning what is being done - and what other work can be done - to stop drug production and trafficking, prevent drug use, and provide care for those who are addicted. For parents, teachers, community leaders, law enforcement officers, elected officials, ordinary citizens, and others concerned about the health and safety of our young people, the Strategy is a valuable tool that not only informs but also can serve as a catalyst to spark positive change.