Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force Hosts Roundtable with ONDCP Director
Washington, June 8, 2022
Washington, D.C. — Today, Reps. Annie Kuster (D-NH), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), David Trone (D-MD), and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), co-chairs of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force, hosted a roundtable with Task Force members and the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), Dr. Rahul Gupta. During the roundtable, the group discussed ONDCP’s National Drug Control Strategy, which they released in April 2022, and how the Task Force’s 2021 Legislative Agenda will expand access to treatment and recovery resources.
“An urgent priority of President Biden’s Unity Agenda is working across party lines to beat the overdose epidemic and save American lives,” said Dr. Gupta. “That is why, in April, ONDCP released a whole-of-government approach that focuses on actions we must take to reduce overdoses right now, including expanding access to evidence-based treatment, prevention, harm reduction, and recovery services while reducing the supply of drugs like fentanyl. Today’s conversation is an important part of our ongoing efforts to engage with leaders, stakeholders, and individuals on the frontlines working toward our collective goal to keep our communities healthy and safe. I thank the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force for having this critical and timely discussion today and look forward to our work ahead to save lives.”
“I’m grateful to the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force for convening today’s roundtable with ONDCP Director Dr. Gupta to discuss the Biden Administration’s National Drug Control Strategy,” Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) said. “In order to effectively respond to the nation’s overdose crisis, Congress must work together to ensure Americans have access to care and treatment. I look forward to continuing to work with the task force and the White House as we finalize the bipartisan Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act to deliver critical support for mental health and substance use services, including expanded access to Medication Assisted Treatment.”
“I have long said that in order to address the addiction epidemic, we must jointly lower demand and decrease the supply of illicit drugs,” said Rep. Kuster. “I was pleased to help bring together members of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force with Dr. Rahul Gupta today to talk about our ongoing work to address the addiction crisis. Our country needs a united front when it comes to getting dangerous drugs like fentanyl out of our communities, and today’s conversation was a productive step forward to address the addiction epidemic, advance evidence-based policies jointly, and finally turn the tide on this crisis.”
“Our bipartisan task force has a robust legislative agenda that prioritizes greater access to care for addiction and mental health,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “It is critical that we work across the aisle to find comprehensive solutions for combatting the addiction and mental health epidemic.”
“With over one million Americans killed by drug overdoses in the last 20 years alone, the United States needs to take control of its own destiny to end the opioid crisis,” said Congressman Trone. “I am confident that by working together, across the aisle and among all levels of government, we can drive common sense, bipartisan solutions to save countless lives. This meeting is just one of the many substantive steps we’re taking to tackle this issue, and we look forward to working closely with the Administration to keep moving the ball forward.”
“The growing mental health and substance use crises have touched every corner in my home of Southwest Washington and across the country,” said Rep. Herrera Beutler. “As co-chairs of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force, we’re working to advance policies that tackle these issues and help folks break addiction and obtain treatment for improved mental health. I look forward to continuing to press for commonsense solutions to these crises which are claiming too many Americans' lives.”
Background on the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force: The Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force merges Rep. Trone’s Freshmen Working Group on Addiction and the Bipartisan Opioid Task Force, which was co-chaired by Reps. Kuster and Fitzpatrick in the 116th Congress and founded by Rep. Kuster in 2015. The purpose of the new Task Force is to build on those efforts to make the most progress possible on addiction and mental health in the 117th Congress.