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Monday, May 21, 2018
Contact: Office of Communications
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OPM issues new Direct-Hire Authority to help combat opioid crisis

WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has issued a Direct-Hire Authority for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and U.S. Department of State to help combat the opioid crisis, which HHS has declared a public health emergency.

This authority will assist these agencies with their staffing needs in response to the outbreak and spread of the opioid crisis and in support of the related Presidential Memorandum issued last October.

In the Memorandum, “Combating the National Drug and Opioid Crisis,” the President described the opioid crisis as a public health emergency and directed a multi-agency response to combat the drug demand and opioid problem afflicting our nation. On the same date, October 26, 2017, the Acting Secretary of HHS declared the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency. 

The Memorandum notes the increasing rate at which the opioid epidemic is growing, stating this epidemic claimed over 64,000 lives last year (mostly from opioids) - an increase of approximately 12,000 people more than the previous year. 

OPM issued this hiring authority to permit these agencies to recruit and hire staff with the speed required to respond adequately to this public health emergency.

Learn more about direct hiring authorities

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OPM leads and serves the federal government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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