2020 National Drug Control Policy Released


By: Valerie Acevedo, Wellspring Intern

The Office of National Drug Control Policy recently released the 2020 National Drug Control Strategy. This is the administration's second strategy to address the challenge of drug use and trafficking.

Historically, drug addiction has taken the lives of many. In 2017, there were more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths in the United States. Drug addiction has also contributed to an increased the number of children in foster care, job insecurity, and transportation safety issues. Although all forms of illicit drug use contribute to these challenges, opioids continue to have the greatest impact. More than half of drug overdose deaths were due to opioids, with most of these deaths due to synthetic opioids like illicit fentanyl. With these statistics, it is the president's top priority to address the current opioid crisis.

Three major points were defined that develop the heart of the strategy.

The first point addresses the importance of preventing initiates to drug use through education and evidence-based prevention programs. Early detection of those most at risk, education programs, and community support can reduce the number of individuals trying illicit drugs for the first time.

The second point addresses the importance of reducing barriers to treatment services so that access to long-term recovery is available for those suffering from substance use disorder. Improving efficiency in surveillance infrastructure and building an addiction treatment workforce are some of the ways the strategy addresses treatment and recovery reform.

Lastly, the third point identifies the importance of reducing the availability of drugs in the United States through law enforcement and cooperation with international partners. An emphasis on focusing federal government effort against illicit drug delivery through mail and combating internet sales are two ways the strategy plans to combat drug availability.

The policy outlines 9 major goals to be addressed by 2022. These goals include:

  1. The number of Americans dying from a drug overdose is significantly reduced within five years.
  2. Educate the public, especially adolescents, about drug use, specifically opioids.
  3. Evidence-based addiction treatment, including Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction, is more accessible nationwide.
  4. Increase mandatory prescriber education and continuing training on best practices and current clinical guidelines.
  5. Reduce nationwide opioid prescription fills.
  6. Increase Prescription Drug Monitoring Program interoperability and usage across the country.
  7. Significantly reduce the availability of illicit drugs in the United States by preventing their production outside the United States.
  8. Significantly reduce the availability of illicit drugs in the United States by disrupting their sale on the internet, and stopping their flow into the country through the mail and express courier environments, and across our borders.
  9. Illicit drugs are less available in the United States as reflected in increased price and decreased purity as measured by price per pure gram.

More information about the 2020 National Drug Control Policy can be found at https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/2020-NDCS.pdf.

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