As Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Ron is working to secure the border and stop Wisconsin’s heroin epidemic. As Ron said yesterday, lax border security is only making the drug epidemic affecting Wisconsin communities even worse.
GOP senator: Drug demand creating ‘unsecured border’
By Mariana Barillas
May 17, 2016
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., charged Tuesday that “lax” U.S. border security is contributing to the domestic heroin epidemic.
“When I’ve looked at the root cause of our unsecured border, the primary root cause is our insatiable demand for drugs,” Johnson said at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on the federal response to U.S. drug demand.
Johnson said the illegal drug market has “given rise to drug cartels who…control whatever side, whatever portion of the Mexican side of the border they choose.”
“This is an enormous problem and we have not been winning the war on drugs,” said Johnson.
Michael Botticelli, director of the Office of the National Drug Control Policy, testified that there has been a “tremendously alarming” increase in deaths associated with heroin and illicit fentanyl, a synthetic opiate used for pain treatment. He said the spike corresponds with “recent increases in poppy cultivation and heroin production in Mexico.” Domestic deaths involving heroin rose from 3,038 in 2010 to 10,574 in 2014.
According to Botticelli’s written testimony, Mexico is the primary supplier of heroin to the United States. The document states heroin production in Mexico rose from an estimated 42 metric tons in 2014 to a potential of 70 metric tons in 2015. Botticelli said the Obama administration is working with the Mexican government to combat the illegal international industry.
“Part of the reason that we are seeing such a dramatic increase in heroin [use] is around the dramatic increase in availability and lower price in many parts of the United States,” testified Botticelli at the hearing.
Sen. Johnson said if the federal government was doing a “better job” at targeting supply chains, “those prices would remain high.”
“We are not making progress on this… we are losing the war,” said Sen. Johnson.