Cornyn: America’s Opioid Crisis Has Roots in Mexico

Yesterday on the floor, I spoke ahead of the Senate’s vote on the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 to highlight my legislation which would reauthorize programs that help reduce the demand of drugs and to discuss the United States’ drug crisis. Excerpts of my floor remarks are below, and video can be found here

Late this week or early next week, we'll be voting on a bill called the Opioid Crisis Response Act. This is a powerful piece of legislation.

This bill, as he will tell you, represents the contribution of more than 70 different senators and five different standing committees of the United States Senate. That takes a lot of careful work and a lot of determination.

People of all races, ethnicities, and regardless of gender, are dying. Drugs, of course, do not discriminate. And even when people survive an overdose, they often come back only to return to the prison of their addiction. Sometimes they rob, they steal, or they sell themselves in order to get their fix for oxycodone, hydrocodone, heroin, or fentanyl. All opioids. Meanwhile, for the rest of their lives, their relationships, their families crumble.

Part of the opioids package involves legislation I introduced with the senior Senator from California, Senator Feinstein, called the Substance Abuse Prevention Act. It's one of the critical pieces of this broader bill we'll be voting on. In addition to reauthorizing life-saving programs, it's aimed at reducing demand.

It reauthorizes one of our nation's most important programs for preventing youth substance abuse and keeping drugs out of our neighborhoods, the Drug-Free Communities Program. Third, the legislation expands opioid and heroin awareness. Of course, heroin is just one type of opioid. It also improves substance abuse treatment and will hopefully result in prescribers of controlled substances being better trained and educated on the potential harmful effects of the drugs they are prescribing.

Finally, under our legislation, Senator Feinstein's and mine, the attorney general can also make grants available that focus on substance use disorders.

Our heroin problem in the United States is also tied directly to Mexico. U.S. officials estimate that 90% of the heroin used in the United States is produced and trafficked from Mexico.

American and Mexican carnage is related. It's actually interrelated.

But our two governments will have to work even closer in the months and the days ahead because gangs, cartels, and drug runners are all adapting, diversifying, and evolving based on new circumstances, and we need to make sure we keep up with their innovations.

They'll do anything for money.

Mexico is second only to Syria as the deadliest war zone on the planet.

Our partnership with Mexico must consistently be strengthened and reinforced. Our drug problem, and ultimately the associated violence and criminality, is Mexico's and Mexico's is ours.


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