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2023 U.S. Agenda for Substance Use Prevention & Treatment

“The consequences of meeting the national goal of no more than 81,000 fatal drug overdoses per year by 2025 are highly consequential,” write staff members of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in a Viewpoint article that details the Biden administration’s 2023 agenda for substance use prevention and treatment. “The ONDCP estimates that if no actions were taken, by 2025 the number of annual fatal drug overdoses would be nearly 165,000 lives lost per year (based on rates of growth from prior years); reducing drug overdose to 81,000 by 2025 would save more than 160,000 lives total (approximately 26,000 in 2023, 55,000 in 2024, and 83,000 in 2025 when comparing a goal achievement pathway to what would have happened without action). For many, this is an audacious objective. But when US lives are at risk, we should not aim for anything less; thus, this is our wish for the new year.”

Authors of a second Viewpoint assess progress made under the White House 2022 National Drug Control Strategy (NDCS), “Saving Lives is Our North Star.” The authors write, “While the NDCS proposes greater flexibility within the opioid treatment program system, expert groups, such as the American Society of Addiction Medicine, now advocate for deregulation and expansion of methadone treatment to office-based settings and commercial pharmacies. Such a policy change would represent a monumental step forward in [opioid use disorder] care, aligning the US with comparator countries, such as Canada and England; however, it must be paired with appropriate oversight, education efforts, and clinical supports to promote uptake among health systems and clinicians. The concerted effort necessary to ensure appropriate clinician training for methadone prescribing; safe and reliable patient access to methadone in a pharmacy setting; and uninterrupted treatment continuity in venues such as hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and jails is emblematic of the need for coordination across spheres of action to create impactful policy change.”

Source: JAMA