By Sessi Kuwabara Blanchard
With no fanfare, President Joe Biden’s administration has announced its priorities for, and some new appointees to, the White House’s Office on National Drug Policy. The wait for Biden’s pick as “drug czar” continues, however.
The priorities outlined by the ONDCP on February 3 for the administration’s first 100 days are historic: For what appears to be the first time in the drug-war body’s history, harm reduction and racial equity are explicitly included among its aims.
In a marked departure from the Trump administration’s stigmatizing pursuit of a “drug-free” country—promoting cruel, punitive policies up to and including the death penalty to combat “drug abuse”—the Biden-era ONDCP identifies “Enhancing evidence-based harm reduction efforts” and “Confronting racial equity issues related to drug policy” among its “five key policy priorities to address substance use disorder in America.”