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The White House
For Immediate Release

Statement from White House Drug Policy Acting Director Botticelli on Mass. Governor Patrick's Opioid Epidemic Announcement

Today, Michael Botticelli, Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy, issued the following statement regarding Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's declaration of a public health emergency and announcement of expanded access to naloxone and substance abuse treatment services: 
“Opioid drug abuse is a public health emergency all across the country and the epidemic has hit Massachusetts especially hard.  Nationally, more than 16,000 people die every year from opioid overdose and many more suffer from the disease of addiction, which puts an enormous strain on their health and relationships.  I am proud to see Governor Patrick take leadership on this urgent problem and invest state dollars where they are so needed—in substance abuse treatment programs. Where first responders in Massachusetts have already been equipped with the lifesaving opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone, lives have been saved. Since police officers in Quincy started carrying naloxone, more than 200 overdoses have been reversed. Simply put, the expanded access—not just to naloxone, but to treatment, prevention services and prescription drug monitoring programs— will translate directly into a second chance at life for a lot of people.”
Last April, the Obama Administration released a science-based drug policy that addresses the national drug challenge as a public health issue, not just a criminal justice issue. The 2013 National Drug Control Strategy is built upon the latest scientific research demonstrating that addiction is a chronic disease of the brain that can be successfully prevented and treated, and from which one can recover. The Strategy directs Federal agencies to expand community-based efforts to prevent drug use before it begins, empower healthcare workers to intervene early at the first signs of a substance use disorder, expand access to treatment for those who need it, support the millions of Americans in recovery, and expand “smart on crime” approaches to drug enforcement.