Press Release - Statement by HHS, Surgeon General, and CDC Nominees on Record Opioid Deaths and Spike in Overdoses During Pandemic
Following the announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that drug overdoses have accelerated during the pandemic, capping a year with the highest number of overdose deaths on record, President-elect Joe Biden's nominees for Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky released the following joint statement:
"This tragic news is a stark reminder that we are facing an addiction crisis inside of the COVID crisis.
"In our careers, we have worked to prevent addictions and overdose deaths, to understand the science of how this epidemic has soared, and to hold the companies and individuals responsible for it accountable. We may come from different corners of the country — California, Florida, and Massachusetts — but opioid use disorder has hit home for all of us. We've treated patients struggling with addiction and seen communities preyed upon by big drug manufacturers. It crosses geographic, demographic, and socio-economic lines, and no state, group, or individual can tackle it alone.
"This is a crisis that demands a coordinated federal response. In our roles leading the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of the Surgeon General, and the CDC, we will collaborate to implement a comprehensive, public health approach to the addiction crisis. Many people's access to medical care and essential social supports has been disrupted by COVID-19, and many more face loneliness and isolation from their support community during the pandemic, so we also will redouble federal efforts to increase access to treatment and mental health services.
"Our hearts go out to the families of the 81,000 people who died between June 2019 and May 2020 from overdoses — and to the many thousands of families who lost loved ones to this crisis before them. Their memories strengthen our resolve to confront the opioid crisis and substance use disorder epidemic in the Biden-Harris administration."
Joseph R. Biden, Press Release - Statement by HHS, Surgeon General, and CDC Nominees on Record Opioid Deaths and Spike in Overdoses During Pandemic Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/347444