Sen. Chuck Schumer slammed President Trump’s plan to gut drug prevention programs and pushed for a new plan to cut off the flow of deadly fentanyl into the United States.
Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Senate minority leader, condemned a White House proposal to cut the Office of National Drug Control Policy by 95%, from $ 388 million to just $ 24 million.
“President Trump’s nonsensical proposal to gut the Office of National Drug Control Policy is the most destructive contribution he’s made yet to the fight against the opioid and heroin epidemic, and another clear sign he has no intention of keeping the promises he’s made to the American people,” Schumer said.
The move “would effectively kick Americans seeking treatment to the curb and make our communities less safe,” he said. “Senate Democrats will never vote to defund these vital programs, and I know there are many colleagues across the aisle who feel likewise, so I urge the President and Republicans in Congress to reject this proposal immediately.”
The proposal would entirely eliminate Drug-Free Communities and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, which aid local law enforcement in combating drug trafficking and support prevention and enforcement efforts in New York City and Long Island.
Schumer also pushed a bipartisan bill aimed at choking off the supply of fentanyl, a powerful opioid that has caused mounting overdose deaths. It comes from countries including China and Mexico.
Some 753 people died of opioid overdoses in the city in 2015, and overdoses are projected to hit 1,075 for the 2016 year — more than the number of murders and traffic deaths combined. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin, has been a chief contributor to the spike.
The Interdict Act — or International Narcotics Trafficking Emergency Response by Detecting Incoming Contraband with Technology Act — would supply technology to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to detect and seize fentanyl being smuggled through mail and express consignment carriers.
The legislation would equip the agency with portable chemical screening devices, hire scientists to interpret screening test results and provide $ 15 million for hundreds of new screening devices, lab equipment and staff.
Screening tools would be used along New York’s border with Canada, as well as the U.S. border with Mexico.
“These deadly substances are being delivered to our homes, being sold on our streets, and destroying our families. We know how they get here and where they come from, now we need to give CBP the resources to stop this flood and help save lives,” Schumer said.