by Michael T, Flaherty, Ph.D., Chair, Annapolis Coalition Board of Directors
In April 2022, the President and the White House Office on Drug Control Policy released their inaugural (2022) National Drug Strategy.
Based on a collaborative process of 18 National Drug Control Agencies with input from over 2000 leaders and stakeholders, including all 50 Governors, local and Tribal leaders, the Strategy and its 150 pages of detail appears to be the most comprehensive yet.
In brief, the Strategy addresses increased efforts to address America’s opioid epidemic while strengthening focused prevention and existing treatment, particularly in high-risk populations such as youth. The Strategy notably also calls for the focus of America’s efforts to shift further from traditional agency-based care to better meet individuals and families “where they are at.”
For the first year, seven priorities are listed with specific objectives and detailed guiding Principles. The 2022 priorities are:
- Expanding access to evidence-based treatment, particularly medication for opioid use disorder.
- Advancing racial equity in our approach to drug policy.
- Enhancing evidence-based harm reduction efforts.
- Supporting evidence-based prevention efforts to reduce youth substance use.
- Reducing the supply of illicit substances.
- Advancing recovery-ready workplaces and expanding the addiction workforce.
- Expanding access to recovery support services.
Included amongst the many specific details is the enhanced integration of harm reduction practices into the existing systems of care, enhanced new ways to meet persons where they are at, provider and service payment reform analysis, including increased used of CMS 1115 waivers for new demonstrations and the further development of digital therapeutics.
Principle 4 speaks directly to the chronic national workforce shortage. Here the Strategy specifically seeks to augment and assist those serving public health populations. Enhanced worker recruitment, loan and scholarships, assessing and building educational pipelines while augmenting curriculums in all related professions on substance use, including peers and a recovering workforce, are some of the planned strategies. Workforce development is to be aligned with efforts to address equity, diversity, inclusion and increased accessibility of all populations.
The organizing construct of this inaugural Strategy is to bring America into becoming a “recovery ready nation.”
The Fact Sheet and full Strategy can be found here.