We are in a crisis, and the President was right to declare this a national emergency. Opioids are killing nearly 200 Americans every day.
This town where I grew up has a rate of addiction of twice the national average. More than 70,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year. That’s more deaths than the entire Vietnam war. And it’s far more deaths than when the AIDs epidemic was at its peak. More than 4,000 Pennsylvanians died of overdoses last year – that’s more than died in car crashes.
This is personal to me. I struggled with addition for years. It nearly ended my life. In 1982, I went into treatment for heroin addiction. Now, I’ve been sober for more than 38 years.
This is a disease, and it’s a disease of despair. That’s why I’ve devoted my life to helping others recover and rebuild their lives. I’ve started a nonprofit called Hope and Coffee to help people who are addicted and want to turn their lives around.
I will have three priorities to addressing the opioid crisis if you elect me to represent you.
First, we need to crack down on traffickers. If you are bringing in drugs from across the border you need to go to prison. In my mind, fentanyl is so deadly that it’s a weapon of mass destruction.
Second, we need to secure our border. Most drugs come from the cartels in Mexico. There’s no reason we shouldn’t secure the border to stop this.
Finally, I want to make sure that our Lehigh Valley schools and law enforcement have the resources they need to crack down on this problem. There are great federal, state, and local partnerships for fighting drug trafficking and teaching kids that there is a better way. I want to push for these partnerships and make sure that our schools have the resources they need.