Mr. President, I join my colleague from West Virginia and thank her for her leadership on this work. The continuing problem of opioid abuse--the epidemic that has swept our Nation--has struck at the heart of my State, like West Virginia. In my State, there were 694 deaths from opioids and other drug overdoses in 2017. That is more than the number of people who died from car crashes and homicides combined in the State of Minnesota. No matter where I go, I hear heartbreaking stories. It is not just beloved superstars like Prince whom we have lost in Minnesota; it is teenagers in Duluth and young people in our farmland, 12-year-olds. One story I heard from some people at a small town gathering was about 12-year-olds being courted by drug pushers. The drug pushers tell them to go home to their parents' medicine cabinet. They are given a list of stuff to look for and are told: If you bring one of those bottles of pills with those names on it, we will give you a beer. That is happening in my State. There is the story of Shelly Elkington's daughter, Casey Jo, who was a champion swimmer who hoped to study nursing like her mom, but in 2008, she was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. After painful complications, Casey Jo received her first prescription opioid for pain relief. As many of you know, about four out of five heroin users got their start on prescription drugs. The very pills that are supposed to ease someone's pain end up getting them hooked or, worse yet, getting them killed. That is what happened to Casey Jo. She died of an illegal drug overdose, but she first became addicted because of that painkiller she took that day. That is what is happening to too many families in Minnesota and across the country. Here in the Senate, we have made some progress on the epidemic. Last Congress, I led a bill with three other Senators--Senators Rob Portman of Ohio, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. It is called the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, known as CARA, and it was signed into law. It encourages States and communities to pursue several strategies, including increasing the availability of naloxone to save lives in overdose situations. Later in 2016, this Senate and this Congress made $1 billion in funding available for treatment and prevention with the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act. I got to be at the bill-signing with President Obama and Vice President Biden. Earlier this year, we made an additional $3.3 billion available as part of the government funding bill. That is all progress, but we still have a lot of work to do. We are taking important steps forward by passing this legislation today, which includes more than 70 provisions to take on addiction. We have worked with the administration, we have worked with the House, and we see this as a bipartisan priority. One of the major pieces that are in this legislation is based on the STOP Act that I introduced with Senator Portman to help stop dangerous synthetic drugs from entering our country in the first place. We know this is a serious problem. Powerful synthetic drugs like fentanyl, which is up to 100 times more potent than morphine, keep coming in from China. In my State, there were 172 deaths involving synthetic opioids last year. That is a 74-percent increase from the year before. More than 90 percent of those deaths involved fentanyl. That is the reason I joined with Senator Portman to introduce legislation to close the loophole that allows substances like fentanyl to be shipped into our country in the mail using the U.S. Postal Service. That is what the traffickers are doing. They are sending these drugs in the mail to our country from China and from other places. Under current law, the U.S. Postal Service doesn't require advance electronic data for packages entering the country. That makes it easier on the traffickers and harder for our law enforcement officers to locate packages that contain illicit drugs. Our commonsense legislation requires that these shipments provide this data to make it easier for our Customs agents to detect packages containing synthetic drugs and stop them from being shipped to communities across the country. The way I look at it is this: If Target--a hometown company in Minnesota--can find a pair of shoes in Hawaii from a simple SKU number, I would think we would be able to stop traffickers and criminals from sending in incredibly dangerous drugs that literally can kill people with an amount basically the size of a pinch of salt, that we would be able to stop them from bringing this into the country in U.S. Postal Service packages. That is just wrong. With 318 million international packages having entered our country without advance electronic data last year, it is clear that we must do more. I look forward to this measure being signed into law as part of this package. Another provision in this legislation is a provision called the SALTS Act that I authored with Senator Graham. It passed the Judiciary Committee in May. Our bill will help to crack down on criminals who sell and distribute analogue synthetic drugs. Senator Graham and I have been trying to pass this for a long period of time, and I am glad this is finally getting done. The issue of synthetic drugs hit home for me when, a few years ago, a 19-year-old from Blaine, MN, died after overdosing on a drug called 2C- E. Back then, I introduced a bill to outlaw 2C-E and eight similar substances, and it was signed into law as part of a broader bill. I remember we worked on that with Senators Graham, Grassley, Schumer, and others, and we combined the bill and were able to get those listed on the illegal drug list. But that is not enough because we are seeing that new synthetic drugs are constantly coming into the market. Criminals are adjusting the chemical composition of these drugs, so as we get one listed, they just change it a little bit so that it is no longer contained on the list because it has a different chemical composition. But it is still an illegal drug manufactured for the purpose of getting people hooked. The bill Senator Graham and I have crafted will make it easier for law enforcement to prosecute the criminals who traffic what are called analogue drugs--similar drugs where compositions have been changed enough to make it so that they are not on the list. The bill addresses a loophole in current law that allows drug dealers to skirt the law by labeling these drugs as ``not intended for human consumption'' when they are placing people in danger every day. They slap that label on and say ``See, we didn't mean that to be illegal,'' and they change the composition so it is not illegal on the list. What our bill does as part of this opioid package is it allows for the consideration of factors to help to make clear that these dangerous substances really are intended for human consumption no matter what label they slap on them, such as the substance's marketing, labeling, or the difference between its price and the price at which the substance that it is represented as--like candy or bath salts--is normally sold. That is a good clue that it is not just candy or bath salts. Since I first introduced this bill, the Drug Enforcement Administration has taken action to emergency schedule fentanyl analogues on a temporary basis. But we know that criminals are continuing to come up with new analogue drugs, and this measure will help us to meet those threats. The last provision in this bill that I want to talk about is based on legislation that Senator Rubio and I introduced, and that is the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act. Our bill targets unscrupulous actors who prey on patients seeking treatment to exploit their health insurance by making it illegal to provide or receive kickbacks for referring patients to recovery homes and treatment facilities. These kickbacks are already illegal under Federal healthcare plans like Medicare, but there is no Federal law to prohibit them in private health insurance plans. When people are struggling with addiction, their focus should be on getting well, not on worrying whether treatment facilities are trying to take advantage of them to make more money. It is simply outrageous. Our bill will crack down on healthcare facilities or providers who try to game the system to take advantage of these vulnerable patients. Those are three provisions I have worked on that are in this bill, but, as we know, there is a lot of other good work that has been done in this bill. In the end, the way I look at this is that our first goal is to stop people from getting addicted in the first place. That means doing all we can to stop this fentanyl, carfentanil, and all the illegal drugs from coming in. That means providing education in our schools so kids understand what is happening and how dangerous these drugs are. That means working with our doctors and healthcare providers so they are not overprescribing opioids. We now know that four out of five heroin users got their start on legal prescription drugs. We want to put limits--and that is going on all over the country with Republican and Democratic Governors--and we must do more here. The second piece of this is making sure we have treatment available for people who are addicted. There are all kinds of work being done on treatment, from SUBOXONE, to the work that is being done in the medical device industry as they look at potential ways to get people off of these drugs, to traditional treatment methods. We have to be openminded to all possibilities to get people off of these drugs because once addiction occurs, they are very hard drugs to kick. That means we are going to have to put in resources to combat that. I personally support Senator Manchin's bill, the LifeBOAT Act, which is a commonsense approach that allows a one-penny additional fee on each milligram of active opioid in these drugs so that that money can be used to pay for treatment. We should be using those kinds of innovative ideas at the Federal and State level. The last point is to go after the bad guys, the people who are trying to get people hooked on these drugs. That is where two of the bills I just discussed--the analogue bill with Senator Graham and the bill that Senator Portman introduced with me, the STOP Act, which requires the Postal Service to track these packages--it is a combined effort. There is a law enforcement piece of this, but we cannot forget that at its core, we want to stop this cycle where people are getting addicted. And when they do get addicted, when that happens, we have to get them the treatment they deserve. I used to be a prosecutor in the criminal justice system, and I always said that we wanted to run our office as efficiently as possible. We wanted to use business techniques in how we ran an office. But there was one important way that we were not like a business: We didn't want to see repeat customers. We didn't want to see people cycling in and out of the criminal justice system. The best way we can ensure that doesn't happen is by making sure that people get the treatment they need so that they can go on to lead happy, productive lives. I yield the floor.