Congress’s Take on the U.S. Heroin Epidemic

By William Edstrom – dissidentvoice.org

obama-bush-opium

More artwork at David Dees.com

A heroin epidemic is on fire all across America. Heroin deaths shot up from 1,779 in 2001 to 10,574 in 2014 as Afghan opium poppy fields metastasized from 7,600 hectares in 2001 (when the War in Afghanistan began) to 224,000 hectares currently.

The Taliban outlawed opium in Afghanistan in 2000 and within a year it was all but gone, demonstrating that Afghan opium can be eradicated quickly for any administration that chooses to do so. Afghanistan is, by far, the number one source globally of both opium and heroin.

In 2014, 7,554 tons of raw opium were produced worldwide, including 6,400 tons in US-occupied Afghanistan and 173 tons from Mexico and Colombia. Opium plus chemicals (like acetic anhydride) produce heroin. US-occupied Afghanistan produces 85% of the world’s heroin. Mexico and Colombia produce only 2% of the world’s heroin. Mexico and Colombia produce enough heroin for only 115,000 heroin addicts.

Other countries such as Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam produce the remaining 13% of the world’s heroin. Heroin from Southeast Asian (Golden Triangle) countries go along heroin trade routes to other parts of Asia, Australia and Europe.

Most heroin in the US is coming from US-occupied Afghanistan. There is no other mathematical possibility. There is no other physical possibility.

There were 189,000 heroin users in the US in 2001, now there are 4,500,000 (2.5 million heroin addicts and 2 million casual users).

The heroin epidemic is big enough now for Congressional Hearings to be called. Congressional Hearings can be authorized by Chairs of various committees. Senator Johnson, Chair of the Homeland Security Committee, for example, can call hearings. There is no greater threat to national security at the moment than tons of Afghan heroin flooding into US each week, killing over 10,000 Americans a year.

Senator Grassley, Chair of the Judiciary Committee can also call hearings.

Basic questions can be asked like 1) how did Afghan opium spread from 7,600 hectares to 224,000 hectares, 2) why did US heroin deaths shoot up from 1,779 in 2001 to 10,574 in 2014, 3) how did the Taliban eradicate Afghan opium (from 93,000 hectares in 1999 to 7,600 hectares in 2001), 4) why hasn’t the current Administration done likewise, and 5) why did President Obama stop all US opium eradication efforts in US-occupied Afghanistan in 2009, effectively green lighting the Afghan opium and heroin trade.

I contacted all 535 US Congresspeople and several hundred opposition candidates to find out Congress’s take on this deadly epidemic.

Seven incumbents responded as did thirty-three opposition candidates. Answers varied from “close the CIA” to ‘beef up the border with Mexico’ to ‘decriminalize drugs’ to ‘more treatment’ to ‘eradicate Afghan opium crops.’

In a show of bipartisan unity not seen for a long time, the US Senate passed S.524, The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016, by a vote of 94-1 in 2016. This bill proposes modest improvements in treatment and prevention efforts.

The corresponding bill in the US House of Representatives is still pending in the Judiciary Committee as is allocation of $725 million in funding for this bill.

Senator Ron Johnson (REP – WI) responded to inquiries with facts about work he has done as Chair of the Homeland Security and Government Oversight Committee to beef up border security to more effectively combat drug trafficking and on getting the Addiction and Recovery Act passed and funded.

Senator Johnson has also taken a lead in the fight against sex trafficking, a predicament many heroin users find themselves in, stating that “the degradation is sick.” Senator Johnson added amendments onto the Addiction and Recovery Act “aimed at helping Veterans, the Tribes in Wisconsin, and others.”

Former Senator Feingold (DEM – WI) declined to comment.

Heroin from Afghanistan has killed more people than the 55,000 Americans killed in the Vietnam War. An American now gets killed every 32 minutes by Afghan heroin. With US heroin deaths tripling every four years, an American will get killed by heroin every 16 minutes by 2020. Since 2009, American policy has been to permit Afghan opium growing and the heroin trade, to minimize US troop casualties in Afghanistan and to maximize US civilian heroin casualties here in the USA.

Continued at Dissident Voice .

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