Grassley Praises Community Anti-drug Coalitions for Their Work, Gives Legislative Update
Remarks of Sen. Chuck Grassley
Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America Visit to Capitol Hill
Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016
Thank you, General Dean, for your kind introduction and for inviting me back to speak with all of you again.
It’s always a pleasure to have a chance to speak with passionate and dedicated people.
I want to extend a warm welcome to all of you to our nation’s capital.
I especially want to welcome those from my home state of Iowa, whom I look forward to meeting with shortly.
Drug abuse and addiction continue to plague families and communities throughout the country.
However, we don’t accept this as a routine part of our society.
We’re dedicated to preventing drug abuse and addiction even before they begin.
As Chairman of both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Drug Caucus, I’m committed to finding bipartisan solutions to prevent and combat drug abuse and addiction.
Just last week, I chaired a hearing in the Judiciary Committee about the epidemic of abuse of prescription drugs and heroin gripping the country.
The committee heard from experts, both inside and outside of government, about ways to stem this growing epidemic.
And we heard moving testimony from a mother who lost her daughter to a heroin overdose.
We also heard from multiple experts about the need to continue education and raise awareness to prevent medicines from falling into the wrong hands.
Drug Free Community coalitions will be crucial in continuing their good work to help spread this message throughout communities to prevent more tragedies from occurring.
I look forward to working with the members of the Judiciary Committee to advance positive solutions to prevent and reduce prescription drug and heroin abuse.
And I’m hopeful that the Judiciary Committee will soon consider the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015.
This legislation is a multi-faceted approach to fighting the abuse of heroin and other opioids in this country.
It also supports past and existing Drug-Free Community grantees by allowing them to apply for additional grants if their communities are experiencing unique drug crises.
Of course, the danger posed by other drugs remains ever-present.
Last October, I convened a Judiciary Committee field hearing in Iowa to examine the changing nature of threat posed by methamphetamine there.
Today, law enforcement’s seizure of meth labs is at almost a 20-year low in Iowa, but unfortunately, many of the leading indicators of heroin addiction are up. Why? Meth is being trafficked into the state by Mexican drug trafficking organizations.
I’ll continue to press the Administration to secure the border from the cartels.
I’m also dedicated to finding ways to halt the growing trend of synthetic drug abuse.
Synthetic drugs with street names like bath salts, K2, or molly have had a devastating impact on families throughout the country.
I’m working to find solutions that will make the manufacturers and sellers of these drugs think twice before making these drugs available for sale in our communities.
I also continue to be concerned about the effect that the legalization of recreational marijuana at the state level is having on our youth.
Just this week, the Government Accountability Office issued a report, at my request, which highlights the fact that the Obama Administration doesn’t have a documented plan in place to monitor the effects of state legalization of marijuana on its eight federal marijuana enforcement priorities.
Chief among these eight enforcement priorities are preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors and preventing the diversion of marijuana across state lines.
I plan to hold a hearing soon in the Senate Drug Caucus to hold the Department of Justice’s feet to the fire to enforce federal law when it comes to marijuana.
All the while, I continue to be amazed by the good work community coalitions throughout Iowa and the nation do to make their communities safer and healthier.
Your work is having an effect. We can see from surveys, like the Monitoring the Future Survey, show general downward trends in most drug abuse categories for youth.
But of course the work to prevent drug abuse must continue.
Now more than ever, we must fight the negative messages youth encounter in today’s culture.
That is why I continue to support the Drug Free Communities grant program and will work to ensure it continues to receive the funding it needs.
Though the Drug Free Communities program supports community anti-drug efforts, it’s all of you in this room and throughout the country who selflessly work toward the noble cause of safe and drug free communities that make the real difference. Thank you for all that you do.