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Federal Agencies Call on Housing Community to Expand Access to Life Saving Measures

Biden-Harris Administration Calls on Housing Community to Help Expand Access to Life-Saving Opioid Overdose Reversal Medications Like Naloxone

As part of President Biden’s Unity Agenda priority to beat the overdose epidemic, federal agencies are working with housing and support services providers to improve access to life-saving measures like naloxone, destigmatize substance use disorder, and promote recovery

Washington, D.C. – Today, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a joint letter to public health departments and health care systems (PDF | 187 KB) to partner with housing providers, community development organizations, and other housing agencies to help expand access to naloxone and other life-saving overdose reversal medications in the communities they serve. Housing providers play an important role in the whole-of-society effort to save lives by ensuring that all public spaces have lifesaving overdose reversal medications on hand and people are prepared to use it. Overdose reversal medications that can reverse an opioid-related overdose, including fentanyl-related overdose; can be found in many schools, libraries, and other community institutions; and should be readily available in and around public housing settings, multifamily housing programs, housing counseling offices, and programs for people experiencing homelessness.

“With his Unity Agenda, President Biden set a clear directive: we must all come together to address the nation’s overdose epidemic,” said ONDCP Deputy Director Adam Cohen. “Not only are we working closely across federal agencies, but with partners at the state, local, and community levels to save lives and ensure everyone has the resources they need to stay healthy and thrive. Expanding access to overdose reversal medication is a key priority of this Administration, and we will continue doing all we can to get this lifesaving tool in communities throughout the country.”

“The epidemic’s ability to change over time demands a flexible and collective response as a federal family,” said Assistant Secretary for Health, ADM Rachel L. Levine. “By working together at the federal, state, and local levels, we can extend access to Naloxone and other opioid reversal agents to create healthy communities and build a healthy nation for all.”

“We all have a role to play in ending the overdose epidemic,” said Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of SAMHSA. “Naloxone and other opioid overdose reversal medications save lives. Ensuring these medications are broadly distributed in these housing-related settings is an important step to help communities prevent fatal overdoses. These medications should be as readily available as other health-and-safety equipment like carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and defibrillators.”

“Many overdoses happen in the home, and providing access to an effective and easy-to-use medication that can reverse an overdose is just common sense,” said Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner Julia Gordon. “We urge our assisted housing property owners and managers to make this life-saving medication readily available to their residents and guests.”

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