It's Time to Call the Opioid Crisis What It Is: A National Emergency

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Posted: Feb 08, 2019 9:57 AM
It's Time to Call the Opioid Crisis What It Is:  A National Emergency

Source: (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Americans were rightfully outraged when almost 3,000 Americans were killed on 9-11 and another 6,000 injured. As a nation, we declared war in Afghanistan and have suffered more than 2,200 killed and over 20,000 injured. We value life in our country, and we do not turn a blind eye when our citizens are killed and harmed. That is why the President was correct in August 2017 when he declared the opioid crisis a national health emergency. The CDC reported that there were 70,237 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2017. The numbers remained just as high in 2018. 70,000 dead Americans per year is a national crisis of unprecedented proportion.  Just recently, border patrol agents in Arizona confiscated the “largest seizure in U.S. history of fentanyl, the synthetic opioid blamed for the majority of overdose deaths” and the overwhelming majority of which comes from Mexico.

It is time to elevate this national health emergency to a National Emergency under the National Emergency Act and focus on the source of opioids that are killing our people--drug running from Mexico. Without an effective barrier, drug traffickers routinely and successfully cross the southern border to deliver death to Americans. There are currently 32 National Emergencies declared, not one of which is killing even one U.S. Citizen. With the yearly carnage of our people exceeding the entire death toll for the 12-year Vietnam War, there is no rational basis to conclude this isn’t a national emergency.  

Here are the benefits of declaring a national emergency: First, that is what this is.  70,000 dead year-in and year-out is a catastrophe of unprecedented levels. Second, in addition to the opioid deaths, due to drugs coming from Mexico, we have the problem of gang members and criminals sashaying across the border and inflicting mayhem in our nation. Every death and injury inflicted upon an American citizen by an illegal alien is a preventable crime if we had an effective barrier. Illegal aliens do not belong in our country and have no right to be here in the first place. Thousands of Americans would still be alive today, reunited with their families, but for the millions of illegal aliens here committing crimes on a daily basis.   

This seems simple, tens of thousands of Americans are dying, and therefore it should be considered a national emergency. But the open border globalists crowd doesn’t seem to care about the families and communities being torn apart by the river of narcotics flowing from south of the border.  Indeed, many are misguided and blame their doctors or pharmacies when the carnage is from illegal heroin and fentanyl.  

Let’s look at the 32 other National Emergencies that are ongoing. On November 3, 1997, President Clinton declared a National Emergency, blocking Sudanese Government Property and Prohibiting Transactions With Sudan. No one complained about this. 

On October 27, 2006, President Bush declared a National Emergency, Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  This was in response to violence around the Congolese presidential election runoff.

Just last week, the President declared a National Emergency with EO 13857, Taking Additional Steps To Address the National Emergency with Respect to Venezuela. Not only was this national emergency not condemned, but it is also being cheered by the majority of the D.C. swamp. Not one of these so called emergencies have resulted in an American death.   Meanwhile, over 100 Americans per day die from illegal drugs from Mexico.

The question must now be asked, why is the D.C. swamp against a national emergency being declared to protect American citizens in their home, but cheer when a national emergency is used for an international issue with no impact on the lives of U.S. citizens?  The President should do what is right and declare an emergency—because it is. 

Congressman Gosar represents a border district as part of the 4th Congressional District in Arizona, including the Yuma Sector.   A member of the House Freedom Caucus, he has been an advocate for secure borders since taking office in 2011.