February 3, 2021 - Washington, D.C.—In response to the White House Office of National Drug Control Strategy (ONDCP) announcing its first wave of President Biden’s appointees and outlining the administration’s priorities for the first 100 days, Kassandra Frederique, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, released the following statement:
"We are encouraged by this announcement by the Biden Administration and to see that the Office of National Drug Control Policy, for once, has an agenda that seems to be more focused on public health and curbing the overdose crisis—which has been exacerbated by the pandemic—than failed interdiction efforts. The priorities, and Biden picking people with personal experience and public health backgrounds to lead them, reflect much of what we have been urging them to prioritize, such as racial equity, harm reduction and lifting barriers for people to access medication for opioid use disorder.
However, we hope the administration will continue to undo the harms of failed drug policies by moving away from criminalization of people who use drugs altogether and by expunging past drug arrests and convictions so that people are not faced with lifelong barriers to building healthy, fulfilling lives.
We also urge the administration to appoint a Director that will be reflective of these priorities – someone whose experience is firmly rooted in public health, who is willing to embrace innovative evidence-based approaches, and who knows firsthand the harms the drug war has created on communities of color. We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past, and this choice offers an opportunity to set us on a better path.”
In November, DPA released a list of priorities it is urging the Biden-Harris Administration to prioritize, particularly during its first 100 days in office, which can be found here.