Eisenhower Executive Office Building
As Prepared for Delivery
SECOND GENTLEMAN DOUGLAS EMHOFF: Thank you, Justin for that introduction.
We had the chance to connect earlier and previously. You told me all about your son Aaron. And how you turned the pain of his loss into advocacy.
The work that you and your family are doing today in Indiana, and across the country, is making such a difference.
I also want to thank Dr. Gupta for his leadership and bringing us all together. And a big thanks to your team for your important work.
And to Dr. Cohen for your work on this issue.
Last year, I sat with some of you and heard your stories. You told me about your family members and loved ones who you had lost to this overdose epidemic.
I see a number of new faces too. I look forward to hearing from you.
We talked about eliminating the stigma associated with overdoses and how we need to approach those impacted with compassion.
We also spoke about investing in mental health resources.
I want you to know that your stories matter. The Biden-Harris Administration is listening and taking action.
The opioid crisis impacts everyone. All of you here are representative of just how many different people this crisis touches.
It impacts those who have never interacted with drugs before or someone who has been struggling with substance use disorder for a long time.
It doesn’t matter if you live in a red state or a blue state, families across the country continue to be affected in devastating ways.
As a father, I know how much we worry about our young people and their exposure to dangerous substances.
And with the growth of social media, it’s even harder to protect our children from these harmful drugs.
That’s why the work each of you are doing to raise awareness is so critical.
You are bringing the conversation to the forefront.
You are leading information campaigns in communities to bolster prevention. And you are helping families access the critical treatment and recovery services they need.
Your work is saving lives.
I want you to know that the Biden-Harris Administration has your back. Since day one, President Biden and Vice President Harris have made defeating this epidemic a priority.
Through the National Drug Control strategy, the Biden-Harris Administration is investing billions to address addiction and the overdose epidemic, and keep communities healthy and safe.
And look at the results.
Overdoses flattened last year for the first time after sharp increases between 2019 and 2021.
This flattening is estimated to have prevented 19,000 deaths last year.
More people are buying naloxone and are able to take critical steps to heal and restart their life. Thanks also to the increased availability of naloxone, people are able to save the lives of those they love too.
The Biden-Harris Administration partnered with the Ad Council on the “Real Deal on Fentanyl” campaign, which educates young people on the dangers of illicit fentanyl.
The campaign has reached hundreds of millions of young people.
Throughout her career, the vice president has been working to protect our communities from dangerous substances.
As attorney general, the vice president worked closely with those who had lost children to this overdose epidemic. And she successfully went after transnational organizations and held them accountable for their role in drug trafficking.
She has brought that expertise to the White House.
President Biden and Vice President Harris are leading efforts to counter this crisis.
They have convened attorneys general, leaders in the medical and business communities, and advocates to disrupt illicit fentanyl supply chains and expand access to care for individuals at risk of an overdose.
The Biden-Harris Administration has made historic progress.
But there is more work to be done.
That’s why today, I am proud to announce that the Biden-Harris Administration is investing an additional $450 million that will go directly into local, state, and rural communities to strengthen prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support services, as well as supply reduction.
This funding will support 164 community prevention coalitions to help prevent youth drug use before it begins.
This funding will also fortify our local law enforcement and improve our efforts to keep these dangerous drugs out of our communities.
And this investment will strengthen the Biden-Harris Administration’s Real Deal on Fentanyl campaign.
President Biden and Vice President Harris are committed to ending this overdose epidemic.
We have seen progress these past couple years, and we know it’s because of people like you coming forward and calling for action.
But there is more to do and you are doing it.
Each one of you here has taken your pain and turned it into purpose. And our communities and our children are safer for it.
So, thank you again for your leadership and inspiring all of us to action.
I look forward to hearing more about your experiences and how we can continue to work together to build safer, healthier communities.
Now, I want to turn it over to someone who is helping us lead this fight, the Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Mandy Cohen.