WASHINGTON — Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released a report Thursday, “America’s Insatiable Demand For Drugs: The Public’s Health And Safety Implications For Our Unsecure Border.”
The report details Chairman Johnson’s work during the 114th Congress, including 18 hearings, four of them field hearings, on America’s unsecure border and the public health epidemic surrounding drug addiction.
“The mission statement of my committee is to enhance the economic and national security of the United States. Over the course of my committee’s 18 hearings on border security, I have reached the inescapable conclusion that our borders remain unsecure and that a key driver of that insecurity is America’s insatiable demand for drugs. The ease with which a person can access opioids and other drugs has led to an alarming rise in overdoses across the country, and multiple witnesses have testified that heroin is increasingly potent and less expensive today than ever before. It is vital that America as a whole shares the sense of urgency to resolve this public health crisis that is taking the lives of countless Americans and threatening our national security.”
The report can be found here.
Excerpts from Report:
“The mission statement of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is to enhance the economic and national security of the United States. To improve our security, we first must properly define the problems we face.
“After concluding that our borders are insecure and that a key driver of our insecure border is America’s insatiable demand for drugs, the Chairman focused on addressing this demand. The Committee convened a hearing on media campaigns and prevention, a hearing with the drug czar to discuss how the Obama Administration is prioritizing federal drug spending, and a roundtable to discuss alternative approaches to address drug demand and addiction in this country. Moreover, the Committee held four field hearings across the country—in New Hampshire, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Ohio—specifically focused on the opioid epidemic plaguing this nation.”
“The ease with which a person with a substance use disorder can access heroin has led to an alarming rise in overdoses across the country. In Milwaukee County alone, 109 heroin-related overdose deaths were reported in 2015. More recently, in August 2016, Milwaukee County reported 20 overdose deaths in the span of just two weeks. This ‘unprecedented’ death toll continues to rise as Mexican cartels begin to cut heroin with fentanyl, a synthetically produced opioid that is significantly stronger and more lethal than heroin. According to one Committee witness, fentanyl may account for as many as 5,500 overdoses in 2014.
“In 2014, each day an average of 129 Americans died of an overdose. One of those senseless losses was Lauri Badura’s son, Archie. During the committee’s field hearing in Wisconsin, committee members had the opportunity to meet with Ms. Badura and learn about her son and his tragic death from a heroin overdose. In her testimony, Ms. Badura lamented the lack of outrage and attention being paid to this killer: ‘For moms and dads like us, we’ve lost our children to this opiate addiction and this epidemic. The lack of attention on this ridiculously large number of deaths, 47,000 in a single year, we do not always understand.’
“It is vital that America as a whole shares the sense of urgency to resolve this public health crisis that is taking the lives of countless Americans and threatening the security of this nation. Much more must be done to address America’s insatiable demand for drugs.”
Chairman Johnson’s 2015 report, “The State of America’s Border Security” can be found here.