April 1, 2021  – The White House plan drew praise from Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., who represents one of the states hit hardest by the opioid epidemic.

“I have long pushed to expand access to medication-assisted treatment,” Hassan said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the White House to get this done.” In the briefing Thursday, LaBelle outlined a vision for addiction policy that would shift the government’s response away from law enforcement and drug arrests toward healthcare and treatment.

The plan notes that President Biden has called for an end to incarceration for individuals struggling with substance use disorder.

The White House has also drawn criticism, however, for moving slowly to appoint key members of its drug policy team. The administration still hasn’t named an individual to permanently lead the Drug Enforcement Administration or the ONDCP. LaBelle said much of the Biden team’s drug plan can be implemented immediately while appointments are still being made and confirmed. But the acting director also acknowledged delays in policymaking because of key positions that remain unfilled.



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