Biden’s Drug Czar: Fentanyl Crisis Improving

( – In an interview with the Washington Examiner, President Biden’s Drug Czar said the administration substantively changed the course of the fentanyl crisis but more would need to be done before the country could declare victory over the epidemic.

Dr. Rahul Gupta, who heads up the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, said the president’s policies, such as making overdose treatments like Narcan readily available, have slowed the exponential rate of fentanyl overdose deaths. He suggested that the only way to decrease the annual fentanyl overdoses would be for Congress to make legislative fixes.

Roughly 90 percent of all fentanyl in the United States flows through legal ports of entry, not illegal border crossings where smugglers use migrants to bring the drugs in. Gupta told the Washington Examiner that some congressional Republicans were doing a “disservice” to the American people by conflating the fentanyl crisis with the crisis at the border.

Ten years into the fentanyl epidemic, which grew even worse during the pandemic, about 75,000 people are dying from fentanyl overdoses each year, accounting for nearly 3/4 of the total overdose deaths in the country.

Gupta said addiction levels domestically combined with a rapidly changing, profit-driven worldwide drug trade makes it impossible to get the short-term overdose numbers down to zero. At the same time, he considers each life saved a success.

Gupta told the Washington Examiner that the first hurdle is stopping the increase in overdose deaths and then “you’ve got to turn it around.” He said currently, the actions of the administration have slowed the rate, and now the key is to turn it around.

Gupta’s claims are supported by recent data.

Since 2014, fentanyl overdose deaths have increased every year.

When President Biden took office, the death rate was increasing by over 31 percent year over year. The White House projected that annual overdose deaths could surpass 165,000 by 2025.

However, by the summer of 2023, the annual increase had dropped to 2.8 percent, the lowest rate of increase in ten years.

Dr. Gupta suggested that redoubling the administration’s policies targeting the fentanyl crisis saved an estimated 30,000 lives in the past two years and could cut the projected annual death rate in 2025 by half.

Copyright 2024,