Yesterday, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), co-chairs of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, pushed the Biden administration to finish its work on and release the 2022 National Drug Control Strategy.
Their bipartisan letter comes after Dr. Rahul Gupta – Director of the White House Office of Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) – indicated last week that their 2022 strategy could be delayed until the end of June. This is far past the statutorily required date of February 7, 2022.
“We are pleased that your office is taking a thoughtful look and share your sentiments, especially in light of the record overdose deaths. Despite this, we are disappointed in the delay. The Strategy is critical in informing the federal government’s approach to drug enforcement, prevention, and treatment. Now more than ever, a timely and whole-of-government Strategy is necessary,” the senators wrote.
Grassley and Whitehouse also urged the ONDCP to consider the input provided last year, including in a letter Grassley sent to Acting Director Regina LaBelle. This letter contained recommendations related to controlling fentanyl, addressing the increased supply and demand of methamphetamine and other illegal drugs, as well as recommended criminal justice reforms. Whitehouse urged then-ONDCP Acting Director Regina LaBelle to develop a forward thinking Strategy that is capable of addressing multiple and simultaneous ongoing and emerging threats. He advised that an effective Strategy must focus on reducing the U.S. demand for illicit drugs by expanding our nation’s prevention, treatment, education, and recovery infrastructure; building and strengthening our domestic and international partnerships to reduce supply; and attacking the financial networks supporting the illicit drug trade.
“As ONDCP continues to develop its Strategy, we request that your staff provide monthly briefings on what work you have accomplished as part of developing the 2022 Strategy; progress towards finalizing the Strategy; and updates on the anticipated completion and timeline for issuance of the Strategy,” the senators concluded.
Read the full text of the letter by clicking HERE.