E-Newsletter

Yesterday the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations held its first hearing of this Congress, examining our nation’s strategy to combat drug trafficking and stop the shipment of synthetic opioids, including fentanyl.

As the top Democrat on the Subcommittee, I worked closely with our Chairman, Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), to invite officials from the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and United Parcel Service (UPS) to review the screening process for international mail shipments to stop dangerous illicit drugs from entering our country and damaging our communities.

Our second panel of witnesses included local law enforcement officials and medical experts, including one of Delaware’s foremost experts on addiction medicine, Dr. Terry Horton, Chief of Addiction Medicine at Christiana Care Health System. These witnesses gave us first-hand perspectives of the challenges we face in fighting opioid addiction, and the strategies that have proven effective, particularly in Delaware and Ohio, and nationwide.

The terrifying reality is that today’s opioid crisis is arguably the worst in American history. In 2015 alone, more than 33,000 Americans suffered opioid-related deaths. Delaware has not been immune to this heartbreaking epidemic. Over the past three years, hundreds of families in Delaware have suffered the loss of loved ones to fatal overdoses, and many more have witnessed someone they love struggle with addiction and substance abuse.

I’m a 23-year veteran of the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserves. In the Navy, whenever we had a crisis that required every member of the ship’s immediate attention, there was an order for “all hands on deck.” Our country’s deadly heroin and opioid epidemic calls for an all hands on deck moment.

While there are no silver bullets to solve this crisis, by working together earnestly, and with urgency, we can make a real difference. As we learned in the hearing yesterday, the Postal Service plays a critical role in keeping dangerous drugs out of our country. Enacting postal reform is an important part of getting the Postal Service the resources they need to effectively partner with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to detect and intercept illicit drugs and other contraband.

We know that opioid addiction is a complex problem, but we also know that fatal overdoses are preventable. It’s imperative that Congress provides the tools and resources needed to save lives and help people recover from this deadly disease – not only to law enforcement, but also to our health care providers. Medicaid provides the lion’s share of payments for addiction and substance abuse treatment in Delaware, and nationwide. The House Republican health care plan, combined with President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal, would cut more than $1 trillion from Medicaid and undoubtedly make this deadly crisis worse. Those deeps cuts would put millions of Americans at risk of losing coverage for substance abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery services.

As the opioid crisis worsens, Democrats and Republicans must put party aside and work together to answer the calls for help from our communities, law enforcement officials, health care providers and those suffering with addiction.

Yesterday the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations held its first hearing of this Congress, examining our nation’s strategy to combat drug trafficking and stop the shipment of synthetic opioids, including fentanyl.

As the top Democrat on the Subcommittee, I worked closely with our Chairman, Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), to invite officials from the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and United Parcel Service (UPS) to review the screening process for international mail shipments to stop dangerous illicit drugs from entering our country and damaging our communities.

Our second panel of witnesses included local law enforcement officials and medical experts, including one of Delaware’s foremost experts on addiction medicine, Dr. Terry Horton, Chief of Addiction Medicine at Christiana Care Health System. These witnesses gave us first-hand perspectives of the challenges we face in fighting opioid addiction, and the strategies that have proven effective, particularly in Delaware and Ohio, and nationwide.

The terrifying reality is that today’s opioid crisis is arguably the worst in American history. In 2015 alone, more than 33,000 Americans suffered opioid-related deaths. Delaware has not been immune to this heartbreaking epidemic. Over the past three years, hundreds of families in Delaware have suffered the loss of loved ones to fatal overdoses, and many more have witnessed someone they love struggle with addiction and substance abuse.

I’m a 23-year veteran of the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserves. In the Navy, whenever we had a crisis that required every member of the ship’s immediate attention, there was an order for “all hands on deck.” Our country’s deadly heroin and opioid epidemic calls for an all hands on deck moment.

While there are no silver bullets to solve this crisis, by working together earnestly, and with urgency, we can make a real difference. As we learned in the hearing yesterday, the Postal Service plays a critical role in keeping dangerous drugs out of our country. Enacting postal reform is an important part of getting the Postal Service the resources they need to effectively partner with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to detect and intercept illicit drugs and other contraband.

We know that opioid addiction is a complex problem, but we also know that fatal overdoses are preventable. It’s imperative that Congress provides the tools and resources needed to save lives and help people recover from this deadly disease – not only to law enforcement, but also to our health care providers. Medicaid provides the lion’s share of payments for addiction and substance abuse treatment in Delaware, and nationwide. The House Republican health care plan, combined with President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal, would cut more than $1 trillion from Medicaid and undoubtedly make this deadly crisis worse. Those deeps cuts would put millions of Americans at risk of losing coverage for substance abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery services.

As the opioid crisis worsens, Democrats and Republicans must put party aside and work together to answer the calls for help from our communities, law enforcement officials, health care providers and those suffering with addiction