Hoeven Outlines Efforts to Address Opioid Abuse, Drug Trafficking

Senator Joins with Health Care Providers, Educators & Law Enforcement to Help Support Comprehensive Response to Opioid Abuse Epidemic

FARGO, N.D. – At the Drug Free Communities (DFC) and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) State Meeting today, Senator John Hoeven outlined his efforts to ensure health care providers and law enforcement have the tools they need to address drug trafficking and prevent and treat opioid abuse.

“Opioid and other substance abuse bring terrible tragedy to families and communities across our nation,” Hoeven said. “I greatly appreciate the hard work of our treatment providers and law enforcement in addressing this issue. This is no simple task, which is why we continue working to give you the funding and resources you need to be effective in this important mission. That includes closing loopholes in current law, like we would do with my Illegal Synthetic Drug Safety Act, and empowering our health care providers, educators and law enforcement to be able to better coordinate their work across the state.”

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Hoeven is working to maintain funding for programs like HIDTA and DFC. The HIDTA program exists to coordinate law enforcement agencies across the various levels of government in the designated areas and empowers a regional effort to reduce drug trafficking and drug production. DFC funds local coalitions to improve services among partners and create a sustained reduction in youth substance use. Today’s joint meeting provided an opportunity to forge greater cooperation among agencies from across the state and ensure a comprehensive effort to address substance abuse.

North Dakota is one of 14 states identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as experiencing a significant increase in drug overdose deaths from 2013 and 2014. In response, Hoeven has been working to support the efforts of local groups, like the Fargo metro area’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Addiction, and secure funding and legislation to provide help prevent and treat addiction, including: 

  • Opioid abuse prevention, treatment and recovery funding included in the 21st Century Cures Act. Earlier this year, North Dakota received $2 million in funding to help fight opioid abuse, the first year of funding under the legislation. 
  • Hoeven’s Illegal Synthetic Drug Safety Act, legislation he recently reintroduced that closes a loophole that enables companies to circumvent the law and sell synthetic variations of drugs, like the powerful drug fentanyl, by labeling the products as “not for human consumption.”
  • Expanded prevention and education efforts in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, bipartisan legislation that passed in July 2016. This legislation helps combat the prescription opioid and heroin abuse epidemic by expanding prevention efforts, supporting law enforcement, improving treatment of overdoses and enhancing access to treatment and recovery services for substance abuse.