In recognition of Recovery Month, the White House is working to address rising drug overdoses and mental health conditions in America.
On September 5th, the Mobilize Recovery Bus launched its cross-country tour in Las Vegas to highlight "the recovery experience that is so unique in different regions throughout America, advocating for community-based recovery solutions, and ending preventable overdose deaths," per a press release. The bus tour, supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration-funded Opioid Response Network (ORN), joined forces with iHeartRadio, "local businesses, non-profit organizations, elected officials, and government agencies to promote and educate about addiction recovery and center the voices of those impacted most by the addiction & overdose crisis in essential locations along the route."
For its latest stop, the bus visited Washington D.C., making a trip outside of the White House. In an exclusive interview with iHeartMedia's Black Information Network, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff and newly appointed Director of National Drug Control Policy Dr. Rahul Gupta spoke to BIN Reporter Morgyn Wood about the importance of Recovery Month and the steps the Biden-Harris administration is taking to address America's addiction & overdose crisis.
"This is something that all Americans need to focus on each and every day, not just on Recovery Month," Emhoff told BIN. "This administration through Dr. Gupta and his team and the entire Biden-Harris administration. We have their back […] we are going to be there for this community each and every day, not just during Recovery Month, because it's so important. We need to save lives."
He added, "We all need to get behind [ending the opioid crisis]. This is not a partisan issue, Democrat, or Republican issue. This is an American issue. It's an American crisis. And this administration is going to be there for all Americans."
Dr. Gupta shared Emhoff's views, adding that the Biden-Haris administration has been "laser-focused" since day one "on saving lives."
"It is important for us to make sure that we're talking about it because these lives are somebody's sons and daughters, somebody's uncle and aunts, and sometimes so many more people within the same family that have perished," Dr. Gupta shared. "We're losing an American every five minutes around the clock. So we're making sure that drugs like naloxone — these are antidotes for opioids— are getting around. People are getting the opportunity to be in treatment. I'm so proud to hear that 10,000 kits for harm reduction were given out just through this bus journey, since just this month."
As is tradition, both Emhoff and Gupta wrote messages on the recovery bus. Emhoff's message read: "Your recovery journeys are an inspiration to all us here at the White House. Please know we have your back."
Dr. Gupta wrote, "Thank you for your hard work in your recovery journey. Let's make this a recovery ready nation. The Biden - Harris administration is with you."
Thousands of people in recovery, family members, and recovery allies have attended Mobilize Recovery since its inception in 2019 — a not-for-profit annual convening to learn innovative strategies and tactics for grassroots organizing and recovery solutions. Participants connect with other recovery leaders, advocates, and grassroots allies to gain access to new tools & streamline their organizing and advocacy work to end addiction & inspire recovery in their communities.
Click HERE to learn more about the Mobilize Recovery Bus and to see where it's headed to next!