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Leaders: Securing border part of fix for opioid crisis

In this Wednesday, May 30, 2018, photo, Arizona U.S. Rep. Martha McSally and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speak to reporters in phoenix, Ariz., following testimony in a field Congressional hearing on opioid abuse and the border. McSally and Ducey say it takes a holistic approach to battle the opioid crisis that has taken millions of lives. AP Photo/Astrid Galvan)

In this Wednesday, May 30, 2018, photo, Arizona U.S. Rep. Martha McSally and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speak to reporters in phoenix, Ariz., following testimony in a field Congressional hearing on opioid abuse and the border. McSally and Ducey say it takes a holistic approach to battle the opioid crisis that has taken millions of lives. AP Photo/Astrid Galvan)

A holistic approach is needed to battle the opioid crisis that has gripped many parts of the country, fueled in part by the high volume of drugs that come across the southern border, Arizona officials said Wednesday.

Members of the state’s congressional delegation along with Gov. Doug Ducey and top law enforcement officials made the comments during a Homeland Security congressional subcommittee hearing in Phoenix.

Rep. Martha McSally, an Arizona Republican running for the U.S. Senate, hosted the hearing. She said 90 percent of the nation’s illegal drugs come through ports of entry, often hidden in car compartments. McSally said it takes more than just law enforcement to battle drug abuse.

But some Democrats at the hearing criticized Republicans for their past support of legislation that would curb Medicaid and programs to treat addiction.

“How can we fight opioid addiction, how can Arizona take it seriously, while at the same time we’re taking efforts to gut Medicaid?” U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego asked Ducey. The Republican governor said he doesn’t think the two issues are mutually exclusive.

Ducey on Tuesday said he was ending the public health emergency declaration he issued last year in an effort to combat opioid abuse. The initiative helped create a new reporting and information-sharing system on abuse while also providing training on use of a drug that reverses the effects of an overdose to 1,000 police officers around the state, according to a news release.

McSally lauded the governor’s efforts, but said border security was also an important component.

McSally said a shortage of Customs and Border Protection officers at the state’s port of entries is at a crisis level even as officers from elsewhere in the country have been sent to Arizona to assist.

“It’s critical, as we talked about today, for our border security because a lot of these drugs are coming through the ports of entry on people or in deeply concealed compartments that are very difficult to detect,” McSally said.

2 comments

  1. Arizona Eagletarian

    Who exactly are you characterizing as “leaders?” And WHY are you doing so? Where in the job descriptions of those elected and appointed officials does it say anything about them being leaders?

  2. bradley taylor hudson

    One issue is Border security vs treatment/prevention. We need to stop drugs at the border, and Gov is right to do this. But one has to question the sincerity of Govt officials who have press conferences about border security while negating and reducing treatment/prevention. It does begin to look like politics at it’s worst, because we know that money spent on treatment/prevention is more effective than money spent on border security. “Border security” is an easy sell because it sounds simple, so it appeals to a wide audience. Treatment/prevention is more complicated, to those who do not know it, so it is not as politically valuable. If Ducey was better at his job, he would do both: stop drugs and the border AND increase funds for treatment/prevention.

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