Congressman Steve King, a leading border security advocate, announces that he has been invited by President Trump to participate in the White House bill signing ceremony for HR 2142, the “International Narcotics Trafficking Emergency Response by Detecting Incoming Contraband with Technology Act” (INTERDICT Act). King voted in favor of the bipartisan bill being signed into law by President Trump today. The INTERDICT Act is designed to combat a nationwide opioid abuse epidemic by providing chemical screening devices to U.S. Customs and Border Protection that will enhance their ability to interdict fentanyl, synthetic opioids, and other narcotics illegally brought into the United States.
“I support this bipartisan effort to combat the opioid abuse epidemic through increased border security efforts,” said King. “According to the State Department, Mexico is among the leading suppliers of fentanyl, synthetic opioids, and heroin to the United States. Giving US Customs and Border Protection additional chemical screening tools to identify and interdict these drugs while they are in transit is a common sense solution to an opioid crisis exacerbated by Mexican drug cartels. Strengthening US-Mexico border enforcement will assist Iowa’s efforts to combat opioid abuse.”
The Iowa Department of Health has created an online tool that can be used to identify locations within the 4th Congressional District that can provide help to those struggling with drug addiction.
Opioid addiction is a growing problem within both the United States generally and within Iowa specifically. According to an analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “opioids—prescription and illicit—are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. Opioids were involved in 42,249 deaths in 2016, and opioid overdose deaths were five times higher in 2016 than 1999.”
In Iowa, deaths from opioid overdoses have followed national trends, rising from 28 deaths in 2005 to 67 deaths in 2016.
The State Department has concluded that “Mexico is a major source and transit country for heroin, marijuana, and synthetic drugs destined for the United States and a main transit country for cocaine from South America. Mexico is a source of illicit opium poppy and the primary supplier of heroin and opium derivatives to the U.S. domestic market.” These “synthetic drugs” include fentanyl and other opioids.
Addressing the opioid epidemic within Iowa was identified by Governor Kim Reynolds as a priority for the state in her recent Condition of the State Address. King believes federal efforts to interdict the flow of drugs at the US-Mexico border will complement Governor Reynolds’s ongoing efforts to address opioid abuse.