By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, March 10, the US Senate passed the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). US Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) released a statement after Senate passage of CARA in which he praised the bill but said that it does not do enough.
Sen. Sessions said, “I applaud Senators Portman, Ayotte, Whitehouse, and Klobuchar for seeing this bill through to passage. Providing needed treatment to those suffering from addiction is important. The CARA bill is a good step, but it falls far short of all the necessary actions needed to curb the rising heroin epidemic. We must also eliminate the drug supply and stop all who peddle the illegal drugs wrecking our families and communities. The New England Journal of Medicine finds that the cause of the surge of heroin addiction and overdose deaths is more availability, lower costs and greater purity. And it is clear where this supply of drugs is entering the country. According to the DEA’s 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment ‘Mexico is the primary supplier of heroin to the United States.’’
Sen. Sessions continued, “While drug supplies are up, saturating our nation, and violent crime is rising for the first time in decades, federal drug prosecutions are falling, and the Administration is seeking early release of dangerous drug traffickers from prison. Despite the rapid rise of heroin addictions and deaths, the President is refusing to fulfill his fundamental duty to secure our southern border, where the majority of heroin is brought into the United States. Indeed, he instructs his Justice Department not to prosecute drug traffickers, or, if pursuing charges, to prosecute for lesser crimes. He also is pushing leniency and early release for thousands of convicted drug criminals despite Bureau of Justice Statistics showing 99.7 percent of imprisoned drug felons were convicted of drug trafficking offenses, not drug possession. This abandonment of the tough-on-crime policies that led to drastic reductions in drugs and crime beginning in the 1980s is directly contributing to the rise in drug use, overdose deaths and violent crimes in major cities. Making heroin harder to get, more expensive and less potent is an essential step to reduce addiction.”
Sen. Sessions concluded, “Congress must take resolute action towards eradicating the supply of heroin as well as ensuring that our law enforcement officers and courts are able to pursue, prosecute, and imprison drug traffickers. Until we halt the unprecedented flow of heroin and other drugs across our Mexican border and take steps towards restoring law and order in our communities, drugs will continue finding their way into our schools and neighborhoods.”
Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) also released a statement on Thursday regarding passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. Corker said, “The prescription opioid and heroin epidemic is destroying lives and tearing apart families. I am pleased the Senate passed this bipartisan legislation, which will responsibly help combat this increasingly devastating problem using resources already appropriated by Congress.”
An increasing number of Americans have gotten addicted to drugs, often due to prescription drugs. As those dubious but legal prescription sources have run out they go to the black market for the pills that they need; where pushers supply increasingly addictive illegal drugs. Overdosing on drugs is now killing more Americans than car accidents or violence.
According to the Whitehouse the bill would: expand the availability of naloxone — which can counter the effects of a heroin or opioid overdose — to law enforcement agencies and other first responders; Improve prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion “and to help at-risk individuals access services,”; Shift resources towards identifying and treating incarcerated people who are suffering from addiction, rather than just punishment as is often the case currently; and Prohibit the Department of Education from including questions about the conviction of an applicant for the possession or sale of illegal drugs on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) financial aid form
Senator Jeff Sessions is a members of the Senate: Armed Services, Budget, Environment and Public Works, and Judiciary Committees. He is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and The National Interest.