BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and other federal officials on Wednesday visited Baltimore to announce a new federal overdose prevention strategy.

The strategy is designed to increase access to care and services for those who use substances that cause overdoses by focusing on the diverse treatment options for substance use disorder.

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Becerra made the announcement alongside Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and Mayor Brandon Scott at Health Care for the Homeless in Baltimore.

“With this new strategy, we’re breaking new ground to address the full range of drug use and addiction that can result in overdose and death,” said Secretary Becerra. “We’re changing the way we address overdoses. Our new strategy focuses on people — putting the very individuals who have struggled with addiction in positions of power.”

The HHS said the American Rescue Plan appropriated over $2 billion to the department to expand access to services that would support the implementation of the strategy.

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There are four key priority areas of the strategy.

  • Primary prevention: Preventing substance use to reduce the number of overdoses
  • Harm reduction: Providing services that provide health and wellness to people, regardless of whether they use drugs
  • Evidence-Based Treatment: Specialty treatment availablity to those who develop substance abuse disorder
  • Recovery Support: Bolstering the range of resources that enable someone to be in recovery

Becerra says he hopes the program shows the Biden Administration isn’t naive about the drug problem in the country and that it is serious about tackling the overdose crisis.

Read the full strategy here:

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CBS Baltimore Staff