election year politics.. and they claim that there is intelligent life on this planet

lmaoLawmakers try to outdo each other on heroin epidemic


We spend at least 51 billion trying in fighting the war on drugs and keeping abt 2 million serious substance abusers from abusing legal/illegal drugs.. that is about $25,000 per capita…. and we spend some $9,000 per capita for all healthcare in this country.  Some in Congress believes that we can resolve this “epidemic” by committing abt $300 per capita to provide treatment and prevention to get all those substance abusers back on the “right track”. We have spent > ONE TRILLION DOLLARS since we officially declared the war on drugs in 1970. We now have EIGHT TIMES the number of people working for the DEA than 1970 and untold numbers of law enforcement at city/county/state level fighting this war on drugs.  That 600 MILLION EMERGENCY SPENDING BILL is 0.002% of what we now spend annually fighting the war on drugs.  Election year politics… are the politicians that stupid or is the electorate that stupid to believe this ?   Unfortunately, they are both true 🙁

WASHINGTON — Is the heroin epidemic becoming a political football? It started to look that way in the Senate on Thursday, as Republicans and Democrats tried to one-up each other with legislative proposals aimed at addressing the crisis.

First, Republicans greased the legislative skids for a treatment-and-prevention bill championed by Ohio Sen. Rob Portman — one of the Senate’s most vulnerable GOP senators in the 2016 elections. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the legislation Thursday morning, and Portman said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., promised him a quick Senate floor vote on the bill.

“This is for real,” Portman told Ohio reporters after the committee vote. “This will make a difference in the lives of the people who I represent.”

An hour later, Senate Democrats said the Portman-backed bill was a great first step, but without money attached, it wouldn’t make a significant dent in the epidemic. They called for a $600 million “emergency spending bill” to fund prevention, treatment, and recovery programs.

“We don’t want to just have a little fig leaf out there,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. “All the rhetoric in the world isn’t going to help expand access to naloxone and prevent overdose deaths. Endless Senate speeches won’t mean more beds in treatment centers.”

The dueling press events hint at a potential showdown over the heroin crisis. Even as lawmakers say the opioid epidemic should be a bipartisan issue, because it has hit every geographic and demographic corner of the country, they are competing to take credit for offering the most aggressive and effective response.

Advocates say they welcome the attention, even if it is driven by political considerations ahead of the 2016 elections.

“For a number of years, many lawmakers looked the other way,” said Grant Smith, deputy director for national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for treating addiction as a public health issue instead of a law enforcement problem. “They didn’t even want to say the words ‘drug overdose,’ even though tens of thousands of people were dying.”

” … So if this is in fact becoming more political, in a way I would welcome that,” Smith said. “It shows there’s an eagerness to get something done on this issue.”

That eagerness was on full display Thursday, as the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, or CARA. That bill, sponsored by Portman and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., among others, would:

• Authorize grants to states, local governments, and nonprofit groups for education and prevention efforts to combat opioid and heroin abuse

• Promote funding alternatives to incarceration for those with substance-abuse problems

• Expand first-responders’ access to naloxone, a medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose

• Launch a demonstration program using medication-assisted treatment, a highly effective regimen for opioid addicts

“Over 20 people will die this week in Ohio” from opioid overdoses, Portman said. “This is a chance for the federal government to step up and be a better partner.”

The measure, which enjoys broad bipartisan support, could come up in the full Senate later this month. Although the bill calls for devoting as much as $80 million to treatment, prevention, and recovery, CARA does not include any actual money. That would have to come through an appropriations bill.


Enter Schumer and other Democrats, who plan to offer their emergency funding bill as an amendment to the CARA bill when it comes up for debate.

“This is a national health emergency and we need a federal response to address it,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire, which has been hard-hit by the opioid crisis. Her bill would increase funding for existing federal and state programs.

It would, for example, send $225 million to the states to expand prevention, treatment, and recovery programs. It would provide another $200 million for state and local law enforcement programs, including drug treatment and education.

The CARA bill makes good policy changes, Shaheen said, but Congress needs to send money to treatment providers and first responders who are on the front lines of the epidemic. She noted that in 2009, Congress appropriated more than $2 billion to combat the swine flu epidemic. And in 2014, lawmakers approved $5 billion for Ebola, which only killed one person in the U.S. That same year, 47,000 Americans died of drug overdoses.

“We are not going to get … this under control unless the federal government steps up and provides resources,” she said.

Schumer, who is in line to become the Senate’s majority leader if Democrats regain control of the Senate, essentially dared Republicans to oppose the extra money. He accused Republicans of talking a good game on the heroin epidemic and other issues, but suggested their motivations might be political.

Republicans offer legislation to authorize increased spending and “put the names of senators who are up for re-election on them,” Schumer said, but they don’t follow up with real dollars when it comes to approving spending bills. “We are here to hold their feet to the fire,” he said.

Portman noted that Schumer is a co-sponsor of the CARA bill and he voted for it Thursday. Asked whether he would support the additional money, Portman said it was important to pass the CARA bill first, and that would lead to increased funding.

“I’m not against more funding,” Portman said. But CARA will provide “a new framework for how you spend the money,” making sure it goes to effective programs that steer addicts away from prisons and into treatment, among other changes.

Tonda DaRe, an Ohio mother who testified in support of the CARA bill at a Judiciary Committee hearing last month, said she is thrilled lawmakers are scrambling to offer solutions to the epidemic. DaRe, who lost her daughter to a heroin overdose, said it would be “fantastic” if Congress approved both the policy changes and the increased funding.

“Somehow, somewhere all of a sudden this is on everybody’s radar,” she said. “I’m thankful for that. Hopefully there will be many less lost children.”

One Response

  1. The Dems biggest playbook ploy….Never let a good crisis go to waste.especially during an election year..Rahm Emanual….Obama’s former chief of Staff, now mayor of Chicago…..and then notice how fast the attention dies off right after

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