Knight’s opioid prevention bill passes House

Congressman Steve Knight talks with constituents following a town hall at Canyon High School on Thursday, June 1, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

State representatives approved the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2019 Thursday, which included provisions authored by Congressman Knight, R-Palmdale, for anti-opioid trafficking.

This NDAA sets federal defense and national security policies of the United States. Knight’s provisions, which were introduced as H.R. 5546 in April, would authorize an additional $20 million of the National Guard’s counterdrug programs to be used in support of interagency efforts to combat opioid trafficking and abuse.

“The international illegal drug trade not only peddles poison into our communities, but is also a significant threat to national security.” Knight said. “This bill will ensure agencies are able to share information better so that operations are efficient and effective.”

Terrorist organizations and international cartels often fund themselves through the trade of heroin, cocaine, and other illicit substances. Knight’s provisions would help already-existing DOD intelligence and surveillance assets support ongoing anti-narcotics operations, he said.

Over 42,000 people in the United States died from opioid-related issues in 2016. While the national crime rate has decreased in recent years, the illegal sale and transportation of illicit drugs continues to rise.

“I’ve seen first-hand what these drugs can do to a family and community.” Knight said. “We can’t afford to shy away from measures that can help stop illegal narcotics or production assets from coming into our country.”

The bill will now go to Senate for approval.

Knight will be speaking in Palmdale at Sierra Medical Group this Thursday to announce the launch of the Veterans’ Affairs Convenient Care Initiative pilot program. The program, in conjunction with the VA, allows veterans to access local walk-in clinics for certain out-patient medical issues if they cannot be seen by a local VA clinic in a timely manner.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and officials from the VA are expected to attend.

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