Republican senators added $45 billion over ten years to their health-care bill for treating America’s opioid binge. It’s a crass vote-buying Band-Aid that does nothing to stop the cross-border drug trafficking that’s feeding the addiction.
Mexico is the world’s third largest producer of heroin – an opioid drug — and Mexican heroin now controls over 50 percent of the market share. Additionally, most of the heroin from Colombia and South East Asia comes to the U.S. via Mexican drug cartels.
A border wall would choke that flow.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., points out that the opioid epidemic stems “not only from abuse (of prescription drugs), but from the illicit drug trade.” America, he said, is “consistently a step behind in stopping trafficking of opioids and other illegal drugs.”
The U.S. lags behind, in part, because Washington continues to slow-walk construction of a wall along strategic areas of the 2,000-mile-long, drug-infested border.
Meantime, the situation is deteriorating across northern Mexico. Drug-related killings have surged there, with more than 11,000 deaths during the first five months of this year, on pace for the deadliest year in the country’s post-revolutionary history.
The House spent four straight days this session considering more than a dozen bills addressing the opioid issue. Not a single measure addressed securing the border to stop drug trafficking.
In addition to treatment for opioid addicting Americans, we must also invest in border security infrastructure to interdict the entry of these dangerous drugs to the United States.