one inpatient facility with 26 detox beds to serve four counties with a combined population of 2.5 million people

Back in the Senate, Rubio Tackles Drugs

WASHINGTON — Florida’s successful efforts to shut down its pill mills led to the current wave of heroin addiction in that state, a county official told a Senate committee Thursday.

“I have … evidence [that] the increase in the flow of heroin and increases in deaths related to heroin [are] in correlation to our cutting off the ‘pill mills,’ ” said Teresa Jacobs, the mayor of Orange County, Fla., at a Senate hearing on the what some are terming a heroin epidemic. “The cartels have flooded us with very, very cheap drugs.”

“In 2010, Florida was known as the pill mill capital of the country,” Jacobs continued. “Florida practitioners were prescribing oxycodone at levels exceeding all other states combined. We responded by outlawing unauthorized pain clinics. Today the battlefront has moved; today we fight heroin, today we fight fentanyl. One can only surmise that the drug cartels perceived us as a ripe marketplace.”

However, the state doesn’t have enough resources to fight the problem, according to Jacobs. “We know that over 60% of overdose patients are uninsured, yet we have only one inpatient facility with 26 detox beds that are open to the uninsured, [to serve] four counties with a combined population of 2.5 million people.”

A solution, Jacobs said, should include a national campaign aimed at curbing heroin use. “We need doctors, the clergy, counselors, teachers — we need all of them to be informed.”

Subcommittee chairman, and former GOP presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), asked Jacobs whether she had seen evidence that drug cartels are stationing themselves outside rehab centers to target the most vulnerable patients. “I have not seen evidence of targeting treatment facilities, but it certainly seems that they are targeting the effort [toward] which communities to infiltrate with heroin,” she said.

Steven Dudley, co-director of InSight Crime, an organized crime investigation and analysis group, said that in Mexico, “criminal groups target recovery facilities, but more as recruitment centers to build out their own criminal operations.”

Although the heroin use is usually framed as a law enforcement debate, “this is a public health issue; that’s really the difficulty in facing up to this,” Dudley said. It isn’t strictly law enforcement; we need to be talking about how to get them better treatment.”

It is Congress’ duty to find the best tools to equip those on the epidemic’s front lines, Rubio said, noting that fentanyl was one of the “primary culprits” involved. “The CDC states most cases of overdose are associated with non-pharmaceutical fentanyl,” including that used in or mixed in with other drugs.

Much of the illegally diverted and used fentanyl is found in the same markets where white powdered heroin was found, said Rubio, adding that although there has been an increase in heroin overdoses and heroin-related deaths across the country, “the Midwest and Northeast have been areas of particular concern.”

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) agreed that fentanyl “is the most important threat we have to families in the U.S.,” noting that in 2015, 57% of the opioid-related overdose deaths in his state had a positive screen for fentanyl.

“It comes up from Mexico, into Lawrence, Mass., and then it goes out into New Hampshire and other states. When it’s over half of the deaths now in Massachusetts, it’s … a preview of coming attractions to every single city and town in our country.”

In 2014, 47,000 people died from opioid abuse, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the subcommittee’s ranking minority member, pointed out, adding that Congress “needs to do much more than we’ve done” to put money into stopping the epidemic.

“While we’re working cooperatively with the Mexican government … and have seized $4 billion in narcotics and illicit currency, let’s face it — that’s a drop in the bucket,” she said. “We simply have to face the demand in the U.S. for these products. When people demand a product, we have what happens; the supply will come.”

2 Responses

  1. The Bureaucrats in DC area very good at pointing fingers at everyone but themselves. They have successfully blamed the entire medical profession for the addiction and abuse problems in our country, but entirely failed at blaming themselves for fueling the illegal drug trade and making cartels rich. Them there is the DEA and CDC who are totally ignorant to their part in driving honest people who suffer from real pain to the streets to self medicate causing overdose deaths. Just maybe someone should do a study on how overdose deaths have increased since the government became involved.

  2. Let me get this straight. These scum from DC aka District of Criminals, the same ones who keep this nation in a perpetual state of war, w/all the deprivation, killing, and suffering that entails, want us to believe they care about a few thousand low-lifes overdosing? They want us to believe that despite common knowledge that Afghanistan produces 80-90% of the worlds opium+heroin while US+NATO forces occupy the country that its the DRUG CARTELS that send people to stalk those just released from rehab we need to worry about. RUFKMe? That opium production nearly eradicated by the Taliban, is booming. Think this might have had some reason why we REALLY attacked Aghanistan?
    I don’t know what shocks me more, the brazeness of these criminals or the apathy of general public to this fact. This govt has got to go. Fascism is not and can never be a form of representative govt. For any of you boobs who think Trump is anti-establishment and going to make America more than the mud pile it already is you need to wake up. Is taking 100 million from Sheldon Adelson anti-establishment?
    Claiming he would like Rudy Giuliani Mr 9/11 cover-up king to be his future head of DHS, is THAT anti-establishment? Having dinner w/HENRY KISSINGER, yes that NWO murdering scum, to drum up more anti-establishment support I suppose? THIS GOVT HAS TO GO. When we seek to curry favor from the powers that be be it easing up on the draconian crack down on LEGITIMATE USE of medications that were made to treat pain, pain that comes from the disabling diseases and injuries we are giving them LEGITIMACY. These criminals do not deserve legitimacy. They do not represent us. If you want change you can’t go around “wishing the DEA knew they were hurting innocents” it aint happenin. They KNOW, believe me, its their job to know. The more addicts they create out of you and I who take Percocet (OH MY!!) or methadone the more secure their jobs are, The more funding they get. They dont give a rat’s tail about who gets hurt, its all collateral damage/water under the bridge.
    I say we need to do one thing. Follow our founding fathers advice.
    What would THEY do? Would they gather a few people and “march” on the capitol (not unless they were armed). They would do as Jefferson said to do w/any unjust unconstitutional law, NULLIFY IT. How do we do this?

    Contact your STATE rep (forget about the National Level, seriously you may as well go out on your porch & shout @ the moon). Tell him/her that you DEMAND they vote YES on NULLIFYING ANYTHING the Feral Govt sends our way regarding the slightest violation of our rights. These people have forgotten that they are our employees not our Lords. Limiting legit meds from legit patients by regulations, codes, decrees, etc passed by unelected bureaucrats from unconstitutional bureaucratic alphabet soup crime organizations, whether it be the FDA, DEA,etc is NOT going to be stood for anymore. One thing about history one needs to remember. Reform NEVER comes from the top down, it comes from the bottom UP. So showing up every 4 yrs and voting for the savior de jour and their catchy slogans Yes We Can (do what destroy our country?) or Make American Gravy Again aint cutting it. What if they gave an election and nobody showed up?
    Look what nullification did for medical marijuana. How can it NOT work for those disabled and in pain 24/7/365 ?.Some states are passing bills nullifying Federal guns laws and even threatening to ARREST Federal agents who attempt to enforce them!! We aren’t getting anywhere whining to TPTB, we have to remember that democracy is a full contact sport. For however much canabis helps people I think the level of suffering is generally higher for those needing COT.
    Lets get to it. These people have re-election campaigns to worry about, this could be the best time to “catch their attn”.

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