Congressman Steve Knight, R-Santa Clarita, introduced H.R. 5546 on Wednesday in an effort to authorize the use of specified Department of Defense funds for combating drug trafficking and abuse.
Knight’s bill would authorize $20 million of the National Guard’s counterdrug program funding to support interagency efforts to combat drug trafficking and abuse.
“The opioid crisis is growing and we need all hands on deck in order to tackle this problem,” said Knight. “This bill directs funding to ensure the DOD, Homeland Security, and other government agencies work in conjunction with one another to share information and resources to stop the illegal drug trade.”
Over 42,000 deaths in the United States in 2016 were linked to the use of drugs, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
“This has grown beyond a mere law enforcement issue and is now a national security concern,” said Knight. “One of the primary sources of funding for terrorist organizations and international cartels is the sale of illicit drugs. Our military has intelligence and surveillance assets that can prove to be incredibly useful for other government agents in counter-narcotics efforts.”
Unlike other crimes, the sale and trafficking of illicit drugs continues to rise exponentially each year, according to Knight’s office. The bill would reportedly allow more funding for interagency efforts to combat the rising opioid crisis.
“It only makes sense that we deploy them appropriately to address this vitally important issue,” said Knight. “Not only will this help protect our communities from these dangerous drugs, but it also cuts off funding for those who would do us harm.”
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