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During his visit to San Diego, Biden’s talks with the drug tsar plan to tackle drug overdoses

SAN DIEGO — The director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy visited San Diego on Saturday to outline the Biden administration’s plan to clamp down on illicit drugs entering the United States and reduce overdose deaths in the country.

“We’re losing a life every five minutes 24/7,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, the government’s drug czar.

In his Serra Mesa speech, Gupta shared a plan the administration hopes will slow the pace of drug-related deaths in the United States, killing about 32,000 Americans in a 12-month period.

“That alone is tragic because that number is increasing very rapidly,” Gupta said.

To curb deaths from illicit drug use, Gupta said the government wants to remove barriers to treatment services and harm reduction services, such as ensuring supplies of fentanyl test strips, syringes and naloxone, an overdose-reversing drug. Another goal is drug prevention in schools, particularly among underserved populations, including those with high rates of poverty and income inequality.

Other strategies mentioned by Gupta include:

  • education and training for healthcare providers;
  • Coordinating with domestic law enforcement agencies to combat drug trafficking;
  • Additional monitoring of equipment used to manufacture pills;
  • Promote international partnerships with Mexico, India and China to stop human trafficking; and
  • Expanding training for national and international law enforcement agencies.

Many of the measures previously mentioned by Gupta were outlined in the White House’s National Drug Control Strategy. The 152-page document is available by clicking or typing here.

Gupta was joined Saturday by several local officials, including San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan, who made remarks emphasizing the need for drug prevention efforts.

“If we can save a life and prevent that life from engaging in methamphetamine use or intervene early, we’re not just saving that life,” Stephan said. “We are saving the lives of this family around them because it creates a lot of family violence and we are protecting our community from additional harm.”

US Rep. Scott Peters, a Democrat from California’s 52nd congressional district, was also present and noted that 722 San Diego residents died from drug overdoses in the past year alone.

Local leaders say efforts to combat the tragic trend will require action and support from everyone.

“We need and enlist the help of the community as well,” says Nick Macchione, director of the San Diego County Department of Health and Human Services. “We cannot do this alone.”

https://fox5sandiego.com/news/politics/in-san-diego-visit-bidens-drug-czar-talks-plan-to-tackle-overdoses/ During his visit to San Diego, Biden’s talks with the drug tsar plan to tackle drug overdoses

Sarah Y. Kim

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