April 2, 2021 


Kathy Melley, (617) 791-0708 

(BOSTON, MA) — Yesterday, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released a statement outlining the Biden-Harris Administration’s priorities for their first year in office. The priorities include many Community Catalyst has long advocated for, including expansion of evidence-based approaches to improve access to prevention, treatment, recovery, and harm reduction services, a focus on reducing youth substance use, and efforts to address racial equity in drug policy and health care. Other important priorities outlined in the statement include supporting recovery-ready workplaces and expanding the addiction workforce. 

Statement of Alice Dembner, director of the Substance Use Disorders and Justice-Involved Populations program at Community Catalyst, in response to the Biden-Harris Administration’s Drug Policy Priorities for the year ahead: 

“We are very encouraged the Biden-Harris administration is prioritizing advancing racial equity and expanding evidence-based prevention, treatment and harm reduction approaches that are essential to addressing the substance use epidemic in our country. The Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to the highest number of drug overdose deaths ever in a one-year period and exacerbated substance use, causing the most harm to Black and brown people who already face unfair and discriminatory barriers to health and health care. This reinforces not only the urgency to address what has become an epidemic within a pandemic, but also the need to build a more just, equitable system of health care that fully integrates services for substance use and mental illness to treat mind and body together 

“One of the greatest injustices in our country is how substance use disorders have been used to discriminate against and criminalize Black and brown people. These policies reaffirm that this is a health and racial justice issue. We look forward to continuing to work with the Biden-Harris Administration to uphold principle and ensure action. 


About Community Catalyst: Community Catalyst is a leading non-profit national health advocacy organization dedicated to advancing a movement for health equity and justice. We partner with local, state, and national advocates to leverage community power so all people can influence decisions that affect their health. Health systems will not be accountable to people without a fully engaged and organized community voice. That’s why we work every day to ensure people’s interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and health care are made: in communities, statehouses, and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter @CommCatHealth.