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OP-ED: Rogers on Fighting the Epidemic of Drug Abuse

By: Neil Middleton
By: Neil Middleton

Congressman Rogers sent this out earlier this week: Whether I’m home in Kentucky or working in Washington, it is impossible to escape the realities of drug abuse and addiction. Southern and Eastern Kentucky knows all too well about the horrors of drug abuse that has hit our region hard. In Washington, I’m constantly being updated on the Mexican drug cartels that are infecting our country and feeding this epidemic.

Congressman Hal Rogers sent this out earlier this week. 

By, Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers

Whether I’m home in Kentucky or working in Washington, it is impossible to escape the realities of drug abuse and addiction.  Southern and Eastern Kentucky knows all too well about the horrors of drug abuse that has hit our region hard.  In Washington, I’m constantly being updated on the Mexican drug cartels that are infecting our country and feeding this epidemic.  The problem is two-fold: we must stop the drugs that are illegally flowing over our borders and we must actively work within our own communities to crack down on drugs, treat those who are addicted and educate our youth about the dangers of drugs.

Since the beginning of last year, the Mexican Drug War has caused over 7,000 causalities.  These drug cartels will stop at nothing to make a profit and often use brutal violence to maintain their operations.  Even worse, these drug cartels have set up a sprawling network of criminals throughout the United States.  In May, a CNN report was released that confirmed there are drug cartel operations active in Louisville and Lexington, along with another 230 American cities.

Even worse, it is estimated that 90% of cocaine entering the United States comes from Mexico.  Mexico is also the main transit point for marijuana and methamphetamines and an estimated $23 billion per year in illicit drug sales flows south from our nation to the pockets of the cartels.  And just who is suffering as a result of this reprehensible activity?  It is our children, our grandchildren, our brothers, our neighbors and our friends who are afflicted with an addiction to drugs. 

In light of the increasing presence of drug cartels, the Administration has beefed up immigration and customs enforcement at the border, but much more needs to be done. 
I have repeatedly called upon the Administration to gain control of our borders.  If we allow this savage criminality to go unchecked, Mexican drug cartels will only continue to expand their influence here in America.  We must coordinate all elements of our national arsenal- including law enforcement, homeland security, diplomatic efforts, and even defense and intelligence resources to break the backs of these drug cartels.

At home, we all too often hear the heartbreaking stories about families torn apart because of drugs.  We see the children who watch their mother or father being arrested for selling meth.  The nightly news will report the tragic death of a young student who was killed from a drug overdose.  And we have read about those who are struggling to fight their addictions and return to a normal, healthy life.  Thankfully, Operation UNITE is present in our region and has been able to tackle the problems of addiction by taking dealers off our streets, treating those who are addicted and educating our families and youth.

Since Operation UNITE was founded in 2003, I am proud to say that I have secured nearly $49 million to fight the war against drugs right here in Kentucky.  These dollars are making a difference in our communities.  More than 3,000 drug dealers have been put in jail.  More than $8 million of illegal drugs have been taken off our streets.  Nearly 2,000 individuals have been given an opportunity to seek treatment for their deadly addiction.  30 new drug courts are now helping cure hopeless addicts.  And UNITE clubs and youth programs are in our schools to protect and educate our children.

Together, we must remain strong as we continue to battle against drugs.  I am hopeful that we will succeed in this fight.  Know that I will remain vigilant in Washington and continue to champion the effort to gain control of our borders.  It is despicable that these criminals are exploiting our loved ones so that they can make a profit.  I will not give up until these cartels, which prey on people’s addictions and use unspeakable violence, are stopped.  Here at home, I will continue to do everything in my power to support UNITE and keep drugs off our street.  Protecting our communities from the dangers of drugs is one of the most important things we can do and we must never give up.

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Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) has served on the Appropriations Committee for over 25 years and currently serves as the Ranking Member on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. 

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God Bless America!
 
Neil Middleton
WYMT Mountain News
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