WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden will outline some new steps Tuesday to fight illegal drugs, help veterans and cancer patients and provide greater access to mental health care.
It will be a somewhat new version of the steps Biden outlined in these four areas during last year’s State of the Union address. He called it a “unity agenda,” saying these were issues on which lawmakers and the public could unite regardless of political affiliation.
Biden will use his State of the Union address Tuesday night to outline new steps to combat illegal drugs, help veterans and cancer patients and make mental health care more accessible, according to aides who reviewed the details ahead of the speech.
dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said Biden would take a “forceful approach” to moving toward fentanyl and expanding public health efforts to reduce drug overdose deaths. That includes using advanced technology to seize fentanyl at the border and working with commercial shipping companies to intercept packages, he said.
Biden will ask Congress to reauthorize the National Cancer Act, which was passed more than half a century ago, to help update America’s cancer research and care systems.
The president will address suicide among veterans by helping states and territories invest in community-based programs and expand educational resources.
In the area of mental health, especially for children, Biden will again call on Congress to support bans on online advertising aimed at youth and to improve privacy and data transparency across the board. Biden included these protections in his agenda last year, but Congress has yet to pass legislation to address them. They will also discuss ways to connect more people with mental health care.
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