Knight introduces bill to use Dept. of Defense funding for fight against drug abuse

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Congressman Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, introduced legislation Wednesday to authorize using certain Department of Defense funds to combat opioid abuse.

H.R. 5546 would authorize $20 million of the National Guard’s counterdrug programs to be used in support of interagency efforts, such as between the DOD and Homeland Security, to combat opioid trafficking and abuse.

In 2016, there were over 42,000 deaths related to opioids in the United States, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

“The Department of Homeland Security, Coast Guard, and various law enforcement agencies conduct a number of different programs to stop the trade and production of illicit drugs,” Knight said on Wednesday. “This bill gives the DOD broad authority to provide intelligence, reconnaissance, and other support to these efforts because they have the manpower and equipment that these other agencies do not.”

Unlike other crimes, the sale and trafficking of illicit drugs continues to rise exponentially each year. A large percentage of illicit drugs and production assets are brought to the United States from overseas. In 2016,11.5 million people misused prescription opioids, the Office of National Drug Control Policy reported.

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