Biden's plan to tackle the opioid epidemic: 5 things to know

President-elect Joe Biden released an initial plan earlier this month to tackle the opioid epidemic, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Five things to know about Mr. Biden's plan: 

  1. His plan emphasizes new funding for substance abuse treatment and prevention and calls for the elimination of prison time for drug use alone. He plans to make a $125 billion federal investment to support effective prevention, treatment and recovery services. The money would come from raising taxes on the profits of drug companies.
     
  2. Mr. Biden has tapped Rahul Gupta, MD, the former West Virginia public health commissioner, to lead the White House drug office's transition team. Dr. Gupta's approach to identifying populations at high risk for drug overdose has served as a national model, according to Politico.

  3. He plans to direct the U.S. Justice Department to make drug companies' role in fueling the opioid crisis a top investigative priority. He will also ask the Drug Enforcement Administration to step up efforts to identify suspicious shipments of drugs and ban drugmakers from providing payments or incentives to physicians and other prescribers.

  4. Mr. Biden said expanding the Affordable Care Act to achieve universal coverage will help make sure prevention, treatment and recovery services are available to everyone.

  5. His plans also emphasize the need to work with other countries to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S. He said fentanyl should be a top priority in the U.S. dealings with China.

Find his full plans here.

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