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While President Biden Quietly Reforms Drug Policy, His Son Speaks About Addiction on the National Stage

by Sam Leibowitz-Lord

President Joe Biden has quietly re-shaped the Office on National Drug Policy while his son Hunter has announced the release of a tell-all biography focused explicitly on his battle with addiction.

As the son of a prominent senator, Hunter Biden has found his substance use the focus of constant media scrutiny. His 2014 discharge from the Navy Reserve and subsequent time in rehab facilities became an attack point during his father’s 2020 Presidential campaign. With the Biden family now occupying the Oval Office, both father and son have  spent their first 100 days focusing the national spotlight on education and recovery for those struggling with substance abuse.

For the first time in the organization’s history, the ONDP has re-written its guidelines to explicitly focus on rehabilitation and recovery, rather than the punitive approach that emerged from the War on Drugs. While the administration has reportedly kept the transitions quiet to keep national healthcare policy focused on COVID-19, spokespeople for the federal agency have said the new administration is prioritizing expanding the quality and quantity of federal addiction recovery programs. This includes more funding, personnel, and federal research grants toward treatment centers, emergency psychiatric and detox services, and the social safety net.

Hunter Biden, meanwhile, has announced that he is publishing a biography entitled Beautiful Things. The novel will focus on how even the son of one of the country’s most prominent politicians found himself isolated and in distress when his substance use became uncontrollable. Hunter has often cited his mother, father, and siblings and his strongest supporters during his darkest hours. Hunter has told major media outlets he and his father both hope the book will de-stigmatize the issue of addiction in American households, and encourage more people to seek help from their loved ones. The administration’s reforms are also intended to make higher-quality resources more available for those in recovery. 

Disclaimer: The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Center of Alcohol & Substance Use Studies