The Crisis at Home

"Our work combating this addiction crisis at home is not finished."

The opioid crisis hits close to home for too many Arizonans. Since 2017, 20,432 Arizonans suffered from an opioid overdose and countless are suffering with destructive addiction today. During my 15-county listening tour I took in my first 90 days as a Senator, I heard from every corner of the state about what was on Arizonans’ minds. Far too frequently, I heard about the tragic opioid crisis and how it is affecting families across the state.

Several Arizonans shared their heart wrenching personal stories with me. When I sat down with Jason Kouts, the mayor of Safford, he told me about his son Josiah’s struggle with opioid addiction and ultimately, his overdose death. My heart breaks for Jason and his family in the loss of their beloved son and all the missed potential from Josiah’s untimely passing. Sadly, so many Arizonans share a similar grief from this deadly epidemic.  When I asked one rural community what local options were available for treatment of those inflicted with addiction, I was told basically none, that they end up in prison or dead. This is simply unacceptable.

For the first time in the United States, Americans are more likely to die from an opioid overdose than in a car accident. Opioid overdoses take the lives of more than 130 people every single day in our country while others cycle in and out of prison, on the streets, or at home with no hope for relief. As we focus and crack down on illicit opioids, we must be reminded that it isn’t the only addiction crippling our neighbors and loved ones and be vigilant for what will fill the addiction void next.  Several rural Arizona communities reported to me that meth is a bigger or increasing challenge for them and the cartels will adjust their business model to peddle the next drug that comes along.

President Trump and his administration have made progress combatting the crisis by cracking down on the flow of illicit drugs into the U.S.  In January 2019, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Nogales seized 254 pounds of fentanyl and 395 pounds of methamphetamine hidden in the floor of a tractor-trailer attempting to cross the border.  Stopping the flow of illicit drugs across our border is crucial, but it is not the only solution to the addiction crisis we face.

With my staunch support, Congress passed major legislation to help turn the tide of this deadly epidemic last year.  The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6) improves and expands access to treatment and recovery services, provides law enforcement with tools they need to get drugs out of our communities, and tackle the influx of synthetic drugs, like fentanyl, from China.

The funding bill for Fiscal Year 2019 provided $4.4 billion set aside for programs to respond to the opioid crisis. At my insistence, the Fiscal Year 2018 funding included a set aside includes resources dedicated to rural and tribal regions hard hit by addiction with few options for local treatment.

 

Non-profits and faith-based organizations like Phoenix Rescue Mission and Teen Challenge of Arizona, where I once served as a board member, provide effective recovery programs and a path of healing for individuals struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. They are on the front lines making a profound difference in lives every day.

Our work combating this addiction crisis at home is not finished. Opioid and other addictions are blind to race, gender, socioeconomic class, and age. These cancerous and destructive addictions impact all of us and the ones we love. We must work vigilantly together at the federal, state, local level of government in partnership with non-profits, faith community, schools and families to educate, prevent, and treat addiction so that every Arizonan can thrive and live out their full potential.

6 Comments

  1. Great story ! But the word Opioid is confusing to many people,, I should know,, Its Meth, Heroin & Fentanyl and yes the Painkillers that are given to millions for pain control which are being abused. Thats a different story with in this story.. But to group them all together is just bad press
    The biggest ODs are from Heroin/ Fentanyl and Meth is a class of its own
    This is not like the Cocaine era
    Or the other CPC that took over yrs ago Meth does some really horriable irreverseable effects on the brain and mixed with higher THC thats being produced is deadly its effects causes alot of the wrong way drivrers All of these drugs are Evil
    The crack down on people that were given legal pain meds that didnt need it has helped. But
    theres a group that the law grouped with them all, those are the ones who do need it daily just to cope with Real pain So many have suffered from grouping all these drugs together which is a shame and wrong in many ways.
    Dear Senator Mc Sally if this is the first time you realized Meth is taking ahold Your way behind in your knowledge
    Meth is in every city town and it a Hugh problem if you only now realize this Where have you been?
    Meth has taken over some States yrs ago and getting bigger
    Its in the news everyday Montana
    Minn.Michigan,Calif Texas they all say Meth was top of the list close second or now head to head is Fentanyl because the crack down on pain meds in the USA that were given freely to people who didnt need them. Heroin has become a drug of choice for yrs now It came back with vengence for yrs,now Nothing New here
    Reasons why there are no statistics on any of this is that drug users use two or more drugs at once Sen.McSally should go to the hospital and see these babys born addicted. Its appualing the numbers have risen For her only now to be concerned pisses me off
    Pot Is A Gateway Drug Period
    Every person that you talk to say Pot was the first drug they tried and they treated the other drugs the same way ( no big deal )
    And since in some places it got passed to use Pot Thats what opened the door to younger kids using harder drugs Again Statistics cant be done because of these kids have more then one drug in them Money is what researchers need. I am not against pot for people who really need it, Just when its taken lightly Saying its a gods natural medicine. Yes it is so is Heroin so is cocaine
    So is morphine so is barley so is corn to make achohol But it dosent mean that its ok to let your kids get high or drunk
    The time Pot passed as a rec drug Driving accidents spiked
    But cant be proven because they had other drugs in their system
    Ask any State Police in Colorado,
    CALIF,Az etc. Do your own research
    Not on the legalized pot sites( they will say theres no proff )
    Go to each state and see their accident reports and and listen to what they say! Shame on us for not paying attention.
    The press goes way to lighty on these storys Its bigger and worse then you think
    A in depth report on Education on illegal drugs all of them would be nice There out there on youtube But not in everyday news
    They skip it or dont report the rest of the story The Child abuser the child deaths murders thefts most all have some drug use in their system Some are on just pot, Pot is not innocent as they have you believe It effects people different just like any other medicine I cant smoke it. It makes me mentally impaired it doesnt take my pain away It makes it worse The levels of THC and other crap they grow it in is toxic Its not GMO approved
    Its is a GMO product wonder how many health buffs wont eat GMO foods But they smoke it and let their kids get second hand smoke or blow smoke in their baby face to get a laugh
    Meth is the Devil, Heroin is a crutch. Fentanyl is death. Pot is the ladder to all of the above.
    Education and Research
    Doing more about these drugs coming in from the border before another of our generation is lost and born addicted
    Crime will only rise Wars on the streets will get bloodier
    Accidents on roads will increase
    PS remember when a few hollywood acters got real crazy ?
    Saying crazy stuff doing crazy stuff Guess what It was Meth
    Sad that Mc Sally and others hasnt paid enough attention to this until now. Building rehabs are great But you have to go to the root of the problem thats the free flowing killer drugs coming in from China Turkey Mexico and other Latin American countrys
    26.000.00 abused children in one yr alone in Texas plus the ones that are not counted or are reported missing. Whats the true Az stats ?

    • Thank you Rose, it needs to be said and repeated. My own brother died a year ago from Heroin and he was 50 yrs old! The heartbreak to families is indescribable. I am in pain daily from a disease but I have refused any run of the mill pain meds. I prefer alternative meds that are not addictive, vitamins and minerals and changed my diet to Vegan, it helps.
      The law makers must make changes and that means a strong southern border to start.

  2. McSally just asks Cindy McCain about it all. PLEASE SOMEONE STAND UP AND PRIMARY this phony before she loses AZ another seat.

  3. Hey Martha, you have been in elected office for quite some time. How did you allow this to become a “crisis”?

    The best way to stop an addict from overdosing on Heroin is to make it hard for a person with a broken arm to get Vicodin?

    I wouldn’t wish chronic pain on anyone, but in this case I wish all of these “do something” politicians who have forced legitimate pain patients to suffer discover the joy of blown disks and long term pain. When are you people going to figure out that the only people who obey laws are law abiding people. Stop making legitimate pain patients suffer so you can get all fluffy about the endless war on drugs.

    I will never vote for a democrat but I will also never vote for McSally

  4. Aric* very sorry about your brother and your pain
    Real True Chornic Pain Sucks !

    Not all go to heroin, many will commit suicide because they have real pain and Law makers Doctors,
    Etc Grouped Drugs And Legal users together That was wrong !

    I have seen bogus pain users use and abuse the system and they now just smoke lots of pot and use drugs for fun

    But to deny and lower meds to people whom have a liget reason to have them is a crime
    All I can say we all have different tolerance for our pain
    Some pain meds Will increase your pain levels Yes’ The hydros and Oxys will trick your brain into thinking you hurt more or inplaces that pain shouldnt be in
    So the cycle continues
    If research can do more for those hurting great Then money should go there to improve the Pain Drugs we need and will continue to need in the future.
    Dont Punish Pain is a suport group Go there get involoved if your a chronic pain sufferer
    This country has to do something about the Meth and other illegal drugs coming in
    A hugh Change needs to take place *Not just the Opioids.
    Stop grouping them together
    Meth stands alone and does far more damage then the others
    We see it daily. Why cant they see this!
    They did wage war on Opioids and Us Alot of people suffered and alot of bad Doctors and people lying about pain are gone
    But we are the after math of this war We cant Sue anyone No new Doc will touch ya to afraid of DEA Medical Clinics Pharmacys Hospitals etc have State and Federal laws to abide by now

    Why havent they tackled the border, illegals, and free flowing illegal drugs coming here the same way? They Cracked down on us Americans, and Opioid problem
    Why have they not the Border Drugs ? Now that pisses me off

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