White House, Office of National Drug Control Policy,
release 2015 national drug control strategy

“We're partnering with communities to prevent drug use, reduce overdose deaths, help people get treatment. And under the Affordable Care Act, more health plans have to cover substance abuse disorders. The budget that I sent Congress would invest in things like state overdose prevention programs, preparing more first responders to save more lives, and expanding medication assisted treatment programs. – President Obama, Charleston, West Virginia, October 21, 2015 
 The Obama Administration’s first National Drug Control Strategy, published in 2010, charted a new course in efforts to reduce illicit drug use and its consequences in the United States. Science has shown that a substance use disorder is not a moral failing but rather a disease of the brain that can be prevented and treated. Informed by this basic understanding, the annual Strategies that followed have promoted a balance of evidence-based public health and safety initiatives. The 2015 Strategy focuses on seven core areas: 
  • Preventing drug use in our communities;
  •  Seeking early intervention opportunities in health care;
  •  Integrating treatment for substance use disorders into health care and supporting recovery;
  •  Breaking the cycle of drug use, crime, and incarceration;
  •  Disrupting domestic drug trafficking and production;
  •  Strengthening international partnerships; and
  •  Improving information systems to better address drug use and its consequences.
The Strategy emphasizes the Administration’s commitment to confronting the prescription drug misuse and heroin epidemic. In 2010, the President’s first National Drug Control Strategy emphasized the need for action to address opioid use disorders and overdose, while ensuring that individuals with pain receive safe, effective treatment. The next year, the White House released its national Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan to outline goals for addressing prescription drug abuse and overdose. The President’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget included $133 million in new investments aimed at addressing the opioid epidemic, including expanding state-level prescription drug overdose prevention strategies, medication-assisted treatment programs, and access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone.


Canada looks at Washington, Idaho for roadmap on marijuana

The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, after interviewing officials in Washington and Oregon on those states' experience with marijuana legalization, should have a "clear purpose to drive the overall approach" when considering any policy changes" surrounding use of marijuana for non-therapeutic use.
The report states that the Canadian delegations wanted to review the states' evidence and experience about the legalization of cannabis and resulting impacts on health, social, economic and public safety. Both Washington and Oregon needed to develop a comprehensive regulatory framework in taking a substance from criminal prohibition to retail sales.
It also recommends that jurisdictions reconcile medical and retail markets, "be prepared for the unexpected," control product formats and concentrations, prevent commercialization and prevent use by youth.
Cannabis Regulation: Lessons Learned in Colorado and Washington State can be downloaded from the CCSA web site.

Lieutenant Governor Owen, DSHS announce Washington
2015 Exemplary Substance Abuse Prevention Awards

Eight awards to honor those who Lt. Governor Brad Owen says “are on the front line on the battle against substance abuse” were presented by the lieutenant governor on Nov. 16 during a prevention conference in Seattle.

“Our awardees stand out as giving their time and energy, mostly as volunteers, toward raising awareness to the issues surrounding substance abuse,” Owen said in remarks prior to handing out the 2015 Washington State Exemplary Substance Abuse Prevention Awards before a room of Washington state prevention professionals at the Seattle Sheraton. The awards ceremony was part of a day of meetings specific to Washington state that preceded the three-day National Prevention Network Conference at the downtown hotel.

You may read the full story and list of awardees on the Office of Lt. Governor Owen web site.

Mentioned in the Media

CBS News
New heroin response strategy will span 15 states
The White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) on Monday announced it's spending $2.5 million to launch the Heroin Response Strategy, a partnership between federal, government and local forces that the White House and other lawmakers call unprecedented. The funds will be used for five regional High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) covering 15 states. Read more from CBS News.

Seattle Weekly
The Spike: What Lies Behind the New Heroin Epidemic?

An Aug. 11 article in the Seattle Weekly by  Casey Jaywork takes a close and personal glimpse of the rise in heroin use - and what's driving it.

Tacoma News Tribune/AP
Washington officials warn about
marijuana exposure to kids
Calls to the Washington Poison Control Center for children eating marijuana edibles increased 33 percent between the first half of 2014 and 2015, center officials report. While the increase may be attributable to greater awareness of the center's hotline, public health officials remain troubled by the increase and urge that all marijuana edibles be kept locked and out of the reach of kids. Read the full article in the July 15 Tacoma News Tribune.

Office of National Drug Control Policy