Prepared Opening Remarks by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Co-Chairman, Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control
Field Hearing: “Fighting for Iowans: Examining Drug Control, Prevention and Treatment Efforts”
Thursday, October 14, 2021

 
Today’s Senate Drug Caucus field hearing is meant to highlight and discuss Iowa’s efforts in drug control policy. I look forward to an interesting conversation and chance to learn about current Iowa drug trends, pressing issues and seeing how I can continue fighting for Iowans from Congress.
 
Drug policy experts and scholars often note that successful drug control should be based on a three-legged stool approach, with three complementary legs representing prevention, treatment and enforcement. 
 
Each leg of the stool is necessary to support the other. In the absence of one leg, the stool is unsteady. 
 
These three issues can and should complement each other.
 
Sometimes, one leg of the stool will demand more than the others; that’s bound to happen in a dynamic and changing policy area. But a balanced and complete response is certainly something we should strive for.
 
That’s why I’m pleased today’s panel is made up of experts representing each leg of the stool. I’m looking forward to hearing from each of you in your respective fields of prevention, treatment and enforcement. 
 
Every year on my 99 county tour, I hear from Iowans on a host of drug issues, ranging from preventing youth use of marijuana to stopping traffickers from spreading deadly drugs.
 
I have a few things I’d like to make sure we talk about today since they’re priority items in Congress and certainly impact Iowa.
 
First, we’re dealing with an unprecedented wave of fentanyl and its analogues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that over 93,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2020. This is the highest number in a generation.
 
We know overdose deaths impact rural communities at a greater rate.
 
Fentanyl and similar synthetic drugs are the main drivers for these record-breaking increases. I’m dedicated to making sure that Congress permanently controls fentanyl analogues.
 
Too many have died from these drugs. Enough is enough. 
 
I’m also working on bipartisan efforts to proactively schedule synthetic drugs. To skirt the law, drug dealers modify illicit substances. These knock-offs are similar to controlled drugs, but because they’re new and constantly changing, they aren’t captured by the law.
 
This loophole can be deadly because law enforcement can’t identify the drugs. We must be more nimble in our approach to synthetic drugs. 
 
The issues of scheduling fentanyl analogues and synthetic drugs show the importance of enforcement. While that’s critical, I also want to highlight prevention and treatment.
 
I’ve long supported drug prevention programs. They help stop drug use at the outset and can save the taxpayer dollars. 
 
In fact, I worked on legislation starting the Drug-Free Communities program, which leads efforts in mobilizing communities to prevent and reduce youth substance use.
 
I also helped launch Face It Together - or FIT. This was the nation’s first statewide anti-drug effort offering citizens strategies to combat illicit drug use in their hometowns.
 
Likewise, treatment is critical. Too many of us know someone who has struggled with substance use disorder.
 
I’m grateful that Rod Courtney of North Liberty, Iowa is here today to share his story and highlight his work to help families and individuals grappling with addiction.
 
Iowans have a lot to be proud of and many of our drug control initiatives have succeeded. But we must be tireless in keeping drugs off our streets, preventing drug abuse and treating addiction nationwide and in Iowa.

Thank you again to our witnesses for being here today and I look forward to your testimony.