WASHINGTON – Emily’s Hope founder, Angela Kennecke, met with some of America’s top government officials working to curb the drug crisis on International Overdose Awareness Day. Dr. Rahul Gupta, the nation’s drug czar, Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen, and representatives from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and White House staff gathered to address the pressing issue.

Emhoff, who is married to Vice President Kamala Harris, thanked Kennecke and others working to raise awareness about substance use disorders and America’s overdose crisis.

“We have seen progress these past couple of years, and we know it’s because of people like you coming forward and calling for action,” Emhoff said.

During the meeting, Emhoff also announced that the White House was investing $450 million in new funding aimed at preventing drug overdoses. The money will bolster prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery support services, as well as crackdown on illicit drug trafficking.

Furthermore, CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen announced an additional $279 million allocation from the CDC to combat drug overdoses, distributing money to 49 states, the District of Columbia, and 40 local health departments.

“The growing overdose crisis ― particularly among young people ― requires urgent action,” Cohen emphasized. She expressed optimism that these funds will empower states and communities to respond more effectively to prevent overdose-related deaths and injuries.

While acknowledging the daily toll of drug-related deaths in the United States, Emhoff also provided a glimmer of hope.

“Overdoses flattened last year for the first time after sharp increases between 2019 and 2021. This flattening is estimated to have prevented 19,000 deaths last year,” Emhoff said.

Emhoff credited the increased availability of naloxone, which can reverse opioid overdoses, along with campaigns, such as Emily’s Hope, that work to raise awareness about fentanyl.

“You have taken your pain and turned it into purpose, and our communities and our children are safer for it,” Emhoff said.

Angela Kennecke and her husband, Jeff, outside the White House

Kennecke founded Emily’s Hope after the tragic loss of her oldest child, Emily, who died from fentanyl poisoning at just 21 years old.

“This moment is bittersweet,” Angela said. “While I’m heartbroken that the loss of my beautiful daughter Emily brought me here, I am committed to ensuring that no other family has to endure such a senseless tragedy.”

Picture of Emily at White House event