Jan. 29, 2021 – “Our country is facing many simultaneous crises and President Biden understands that,” an administration official wrote in an email. “The President has laid out key plans to address the urgent opioid crisis and he will execute on these plans throughout his administration.”

Officials pointed to its $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief proposal, which includes a request that Congress allocate an additional $4 billion to fund mental health and substance use disorder programs.  The new administration has also appointed California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to head the Health and Human Services Department.   Becerra, who hasn’t been confirmed by the Senate, has been active in the past on opioid issues. Earlier this month, he joined a coalition of state attorneys general demanding immediate action by the FDA on the addiction crisis.  “The COVID-19 pandemic has hit us all and further exacerbated the opioid crisis — people need support now more than ever,” Becerra said in a Jan. 11 statement. Drug use appears to have increased amid the isolation and fear wrought by the pandemic, while treatment options have become limited because of coronavirus precautions.  But since taking office, Biden hasn’t yet used executive orders or other policy announcements to focus attention on overdose deaths the way he has done with issues such as energy, climate, immigration and abortion.



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