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Marshaling Resources to Address Addiction in the Midst of a Pandemic

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan
Covid-19 Virus

Our nation is facing a challenging time. The ways in which many of us live our lives have been disrupted by a global pandemic. As our President has said, “defeating this unseen enemy requires the help and commitment of every single American,” and “[we] continue to marshal every resource at America’s disposal in the fight…”

During this time of restricted movement, changing infrastructure, and stretched resources, the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) is working hard to ensure that we continue to equip, strengthen, and protect communities. Although we are adapting the means by which we do our business, we remain committed to fulfilling our mission and to keeping our nation’s citizens safe.

Traffic stop

Now, more than ever, we will have to be bold, innovative, and persistent not only to fight this pandemic, but to continue to make headway in addressing other crises impacting our nation, including the addiction crisis. Just a few weeks ago, leaders from across the nation gathered at the Department of Justice’s National Opioid Summit to discuss the measures this administration is taking to combat what the Attorney General called “the deadliest drug challenge in our nation’s history.”

According to numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose deaths declined in 2018 for the first time since 1990. However, not only are we still losing far too many Americans to overdoses – 68,000 in 2018 – the data also show that the number of overdose deaths caused by increasingly potent and lethal substances like fentanyl and psychostimulants are on the rise. As Deputy Attorney General Rosen noted at the summit, “We still have a lot of work to do.”

Tens of thousands of Americans with addiction continue to rely on the prevention, treatment, and recovery resources that our nation’s public safety and public health systems provide. At a time when much of our attention and resources are focused on stemming the tide of this pandemic, it is critical that we heed the messages from the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General and remember the needs of those fighting the battle against addiction – a battle that has been and continues to be a top priority for this administration and Attorney General.

Our nation’s leaders are working to provide information, guidance, and maximum flexibilities to communities in an effort to help provide critical, often life-saving services to individuals with substance use disorders. Federal agencies are moving swiftly to get funding out to states and communities as a result of the President’s signing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. On March 30, OJP announced $850 million in funding to assist states, communities, and tribes in their response to the coronavirus. Below is a list of some of the most recent information and resources available.

You are not in this fight alone. OJP is here to serve you and your community. You can find OJP’s available funding opportunities here, including a solicitation for the Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Site-Based Program, which supports community efforts to fight the abuse of illicit drugs and serve those who have been adversely affected.

If you have any questions about recent guidance issued by OMB to provide temporary relief for grantees around various administrative, financial management, and audit requirements, please direct questions to your OJP grant manager, or to OJP’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer by calling the Customer Service Center at 1-800-458-0786 (TTY: 202-616-3867) or by emailing [email protected]. For general information about OJP’s efforts to combat the addiction crisis, contact Mariel Lifshitz, [email protected].





Date Published: April 6, 2020