WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) today introduced bipartisan legislation that seeks to help combat heroin and methamphetamine trafficking along the U.S.-Mexico border. The Stop Drugs at the Border Act of 2015 aims to address increased drug trafficking, as seizures along the Southwest Border and heroin deaths are on the rise.
Capito said, “Far too many West Virginia families have been devastated by heroin and methamphetamine addiction, and I take my responsibility to address this growing problem very seriously. In order to curb drug abuse at home in West Virginia, we need to ensure our national drug policy reflects the increase of drugs crossing the US-Mexico border. We also need to equip our drug and law enforcement officers with the resources they need to fight back against this epidemic. After meeting with a number of law enforcement officers and anti-drug coalitions this week, I am optimistic that this legislation is a good step in the right direction toward tackling West Virginia’s drug crisis. I look forward to working with my friend Senator Donnelly to combat this scourge.”
Donnelly said, “We see too many communities in Indiana affected by heroin and meth, so we need to make every effort to stop drugs from getting here in the first place. With drug trafficking along the Southwest Border continuing to grow, it is clear that we must do more to disrupt the supply of heroin and methamphetamine entering our country. To help address this problem, our national drug control strategy should be updated to reflect the increase in heroin and methamphetamine seizures at the border. We also need an up-to-date evaluation from law enforcement as to what tools, technology, and other resources are needed to more efficiently respond to the trafficking. I thank my friend Senator Capito for joining me in this effort.”
The legislation would require the Office of National Drug Control Policy to ensure that its Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy specifically responds to the recent increase in heroin and methamphetamine trafficking along the international border between the U.S. and Mexico. The legislation would also require U.S. Customs and Border Protection to submit a report to Congress within four months of the bill’s enactment detailing the resources — including new technology, equipment, personnel, or other resources — needed for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other law enforcement to respond to increased heroin and methamphetamine trafficking along the Southwest Border.
Seizures of heroin and methamphetamine by border patrol agents along the Southwest Border are increasing, according to the United States Border Patrol. Between fiscal years 2011 and 2014, the number of heroin seizures at the U.S. Southwest border increased from 85 to 145, a 71 percent increase, and the number of methamphetamine seizures grew from 437 to 724, a 66 percent increase. The volume of heroin confiscated increased by nearly 50 percent and the volume of methamphetamine increased by 105 percent.
Heroin overdose deaths have continued to rise across the country, as well. According to the Center for Disease Control, U.S. deaths linked to heroin overdoses increased from 5,925 to 8,257, a jump of 39 percent, between 2012 and 2013.