During a hearing for the Caucus on International Narcotics Control, Klobuchar discussed her work to provide consumers with safe, responsible ways to dispose of unused prescription medication
Klobuchar recently pressed the DEA to step up its interdiction efforts at the Mexican border and led meetings with Mexican and U.S. officials to discuss coordinated efforts to combat heroin abuse
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar continued her push to fight prescription drug and heroin abuse. During a hearing hosted by the International Narcotics Control Caucus with Acting Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli and other drug abuse experts, Klobuchar discussed her work to provide consumers with safe and responsible ways to dispose of unused prescription medication. As many as four out of five heroin users previously abused prescription drugs, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Klobuchar also has pressed the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to step up its interdiction efforts at the Mexican border and led a delegation to Mexico to meet with Mexican and U.S. officials to discuss coordinated efforts to combat heroin abuse.
“Drug abuse is increasingly taking lives, hurting families and devastating communities in Minnesota and across the country,” Klobuchar said. “We must spare no effort to reverse this deadly trend, and I will continue to fight to curb heroin and prescription drug abuse and keep our families safe.”
In the last 4 years, up to 4 million pounds of prescription drugs have been collected across the country during designated prescription drug take-back days. Klobuchar passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act, which takes these efforts to the next level by providing consumers with more safe and responsible ways to dispose of unused prescription medications and controlled substances. The law expands options for people to dispose of prescription medications and promotes the development and expansion of prescription drug take-back programs. Klobuchar recently urged the DEA to issue the Final Rule necessary to implement the legislation.
Klobuchar also recently called on the DEA to boost its interdiction efforts at the Mexican border and to work with state and local law enforcement to combat the problem. Coming from Mexico up I-35 or through Chicago, Minnesota has some of the cheapest and purest heroin in the country that has led to a deadly spike in abuse. In 2013, there were 54 deaths caused by heroin overdoses in Hennepin County. Hospital emergency departments visits for heroin have nearly tripled from 2004 to 2011. In the 7,000-person community of St. Francis, three young people have died of opiate-related overdoses since May.
Witnesses at the hearing included: Michael Botticelli, Acting Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy; Nora Volkow, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse; H. Westley Clark, Director, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; Joseph T. Rannazzisi, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Diversion Control, Drug Enforcement Administration; Andrew Kolodny, Chief Medical Officer, Phoenix House addiction treatment center.