tv House Oversight Committee Hearing on Drug Control Policy CSPAN April 18, 2019 9:07am-12:49pm EDT
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online store for $18.95. the director of the office of national drug control policy testified for the first time before congress recently about the opioid epidemic, drug trafficking on the southern border and drug treatment pra s programs. his testimony before the house oversight committee. >> committee will come to order. authorized to declare a recess of the committee at any time. the full committee hearing is convening to review the trump
administration's response to the drug crisis. i now recognize myself for five minutes to give an opening statement. good morning and thank all of you for being here at this very important hearing. i believe today's hearing is one of the most critical hearings we will hold in this entire congress. in 2017, more than 70,000 -- let pea repeat that. 70,000 people died from drug overdoses in our country. this is the highest number we have ever had in the united states. families across our great nation in red states and blue states and purple states and big cities, suburbs and rural areas are struggling with the
devastating consequences of this generational crisis. on our committee, our members have many differences. but i am proud, despite our differences, we have consistently worked on a bipartisan basis to address this crisis. for example, when the commission chaired by former new jersey governor chris christie issued his report back in 2017, our chairman at that time, trey gowdy, agreed to come to my district to hold a hearing where government they gave recommendations to the commission. i said on that day to governor christie who we don't agree on a whole lot, but i said to him
that day, i said governor, this is one of your finest moments. governor christie warned us that this crisis -- these are his words. "is the greatest and broadest public health epidemic of our lifetime." we're -- to rise above the partisanship that we have in our country today end of quote. that is just what our committee has done. last year, we wrote bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the office of national drug control policy. we strengthened existing authorities and increased funding to help expand treatment and addressee merging threats. that would have not been possible without a key
compromise that were brokered by congressman meadows and congressman connolly. in preparation for today's hearing, ranking member jordan and his staff were extremely instrumental in bringing it together so that we could have an effective and efficient hearing with all of our witnesses on one panel. mr. ranking member, i thank you. i really mean that. and i thank your staff. because you all worked very hard to make that happen. in fact, our two states, maryland and iowa are among the hardest -- ohio are among the hardest hit. ohio had the second largest in the entire nation. more than 5,000 people died from drug overdoses in ohio in 2017 alone. in my home state of maryland, we ranked 7th in the rate of drug
deaths. but more than 2,000 deaths from drug overdoses, including 761 in baltimore alone. the people like joseph banks, listen to this one. joseph banks, a young baltimore city police officer who died of a drug overdose just last month. unfortunately, bipartisan urgency here in congress, the white house office charged with leading our nation's efforts to combat the drug crisis has been missing in action as death continued to mount. [ inaudible ] a competence vacuum at the head of ondcp. it pains me to even say that. but that's what i truly believe.
and the federal law, one of the most basic important jobs of ondcp, is to issue a national drug control strategy. however, in all of 2017, the trump administration failed to meet this most basic statutory requirement. in 2018, it was no different. no strategy was issued. let that sink in for one moment. 70,000 people. every time i go to the stadium, i look around and i think that's about 70,000 people. we lose that many people every year. so for two years, more than half of president trump's term, the white house has no national drug
control cited. none. none. all while tens of thousands of people were dying and the crisis was escalating every day. you know, we would talk a lot about deaths, but we also need to talk about not only the dead but the living. the people who are in the pipeline for death. the people that are in so much pain, they don't even know they're in pain. so there was no sense of urgency. there was no sense of passion or purpose. finally, this past january, white house issued his long-awaited strategy. but when we got it, we could see immediately that it was no
strategy at all. it was a 23-page pamphlet. it fails to meet even the most basic requirements in the law. it does. i don't think anybody in this room, we legislators, if we were presented with this would be satisfied with our staffers -- for example, it does not include detailed goals or objectives to combat the drug crisis. today, the director of ondcp james carroll is finally, finally appearing before the committee. but it wasn't easy to get him here. last year i repeatedly asked for him to testify before us as the acting director of ondcp in 2018. but he refused. in january shortly after i became chairman, i sent him a
letter inviting him to testify. but we delayed a hearing to accommodate his last minute trip to china to examine issues related to opioids. however, after we arranged for director carroll to appear today, he sent a letter saying that his attendance was, quote, conditional, end of quote on his demand to testify on his own panel without experts from the gar. that was despite the fact that chairman meadows held a hearing in 2015 with the previous head of ondcp and g.a.o. both on the same panel. a few days after that, mr. carroll sent another letter asking for yet another delay. mr. carroll, i must tell you that i at least wonder whether
your priorities might be misplaced. think about all those days and weeks and months you spent avoiding and delaying today's hearing. trying to fight us with regard to your appearance. that was a waste of everybody's time. one thing i'll say to this committee, i want it to be clear. i'm not wasting your time. life is short. we want to be effective and efficient in what we do. so all the while, you could have been focused on developing a real strategy with concrete goals and measurable outcomes. focus on complying with the law that the congress, that we pass passed, you could have been focused on saving the lives of tens of thousands of your fellow
americans. but you squandered that opportunity. those days are lost forever. just like the tens of thousands of our friends, our colleagues, our children and our family members. so more than 190 every single day have died. in fact, if the today's hearing lasts for just two hours, 15 people will die while we are sitting here explaining why you had no strategy for two years and still don't really have one today. mr. carroll, we are going to ask you some tough questions today because that is our job.
and i pray that we will do this in a bipartisan way. when you respond, you have a choice to make. you can either buckle down and work with us and so help me god, we want to work with you. we're happy to do that. it's up to you. all of the members of this committee are on both sides of the aisle, want to work with you. we want you to be successful. it's important to us. we are your authorizing committee. we want to collaborate to battle this crisis. we need to succeed. we have no choice. so as i close, i want to make clear that i want to thank the many dedicated professionals at ondcp who are working day-in and
day-out to tackle this unrelenting crisis we face. and, again -- and i mean it from the depths of my heart -- i do sincerely hope and thank the ranking member for his assistance in pulling this hearing together. he basically saved us quite a bit of time. we'll be able to hopefully do this in an effective and efficient manner. with that, i recognize the distinguished ranking member, mr. jordan. >> i thank the chairman and appreciate his staff willingness to work with us and put this together. i appreciate your leadership on this. this is critical. i know how hard our state has been hit as well as the chairman's state. so we look forward to hearing from our witnesses and tough questions that the chairman talked about being asked. before i get into the opening statement, i wanted to raise a separate issue with you. last week at our hearing, you made a with our witness, you made i think a good point.
if he misled this congress that you were going to hold him accountable. mr. meadows and i sent a letter to the justice department highlighting at least six times where we felt the witness did just that. misled this congress and made false statements. last night the "wall street journal" reported at 11:56 p.m. that mr. cohen told his lawyer to seek a pardon from the president. when mr. cohen was here last week, he said i've never asked for nor would i accept a pardon from the president. clearly, another lie. we're up to seven now. i'm just wondering what the chairman plans to do after his statement last week to the witness where he said if you come here and say things that are not accurate, i will hold you accountable. >> no. no. that's not what i said. i said i will nail you to the cross. that's what i said. if you haven't learned anything about me -- >> i'm asking what you --
>> i'm going to answer your question. let me be clear. i do things in a very deliberate and very careful manner. i believe in integrity and carefulness. i have read your letter. i am going through the transcripts and i will make decisions and consult with you. all right? are you finished? were you fin snishd. >> no. i got my opening statement. >> i thought you were finished. >> i made clear -- i think it's important, just like you said when witnesses come in front of the congress, they're honest with you. >> i just answered you. >> you said you're going to do something. you didn't say what you'd do. >> again, let me say it slowly. i am a very deliberate and careful person. i believe in integrity. i refuse to do what i've been seen done in this committee over the years. where people go out and make headlines and then we have a
hearing trying to come up with the facts to match t i will do it, i will take my time, go through it because i want credibility with the american people. >> so do i. >> that's it. >> i'm giving you -- >> i want to thank our witnesses for joining us this morning. our country is in the midst of an opioid epidemic that's hit close to home for so many americans. in 2017, there were 4,854 total unintentional drug overdose deaths in ohio alone. fentanyl and related drugs were in 70% of those deaths, along with illicit drugs. as such, i'm glad that we have director carroll with us at the committee this morning and i looked forward to hearing about your office and its plan to combat the drug crisis our nation faces. he oversees national drug control policy reauthorized last
congress by this committee on a bipartisan basis. while it's hardly the only office within the administration combatting drug overdoses, it plays a crucial effort and we must ensure that it succeeds in its mission. now the title of this hearing is the trump administration's response to the drug crisis. we can all agree that the nation is facing a clrisis. we've said it several times this morning. it didn't start on january 20, 2017. it's been years in the making and one that continued to worsen under the prior ard mrgs. the obama administration demo d demoted. n -- in 2016, dpchlt ao report found the 205 -- none of the strategy goals have been achieved. more recently in response to the devastating increase in drug overdose deaths and opioid misuse, important and timely changes were enacted to address
the crisis. for instance, trump administration declared a public health emergency, congress passed legislation providing funding directly aimed at the crisis and federal agencies have taken aggressive steps geared toward the scaling back of opioid use. in 2017, the president convened a commission on combatting drug addiction and the opioid crisis and last march, the president announced an initiative to stop opioid abuse and reduced drug supply and demand. additionally, law enforcement agencies to continue to work tirelessly to prevent the flow of illicit drugs in the country by controlling borders and disrupting drug trafficking organizations. in january, customs and border protection agents arrested an individual trying to cross the border with a record amount of fentanyl. the agents seized enough fentanyl, think about this, enough to kill 57 million
americans. we know that combatting the supply and demand of drugs in this country is not a one size fits all approach. but a great place to start would be doing what we said, actually securing the border. the opioid crisis did not strike each state or community in the same way. what prevention or enforcement efforts may be effective in one area may not work in another. it is imperative that we equip states and communities with resources needed to reduce drug supply, prevent illicit drug use and provide needed treatment but it is not a problem that funding alone can solve. we need a thoughtfully empower each community to address its unique needs, an essential key to curbing illicit drug use is coordination between federal, state and local entities. the drug-free communities program and the high -- drug trafficking areas program play a critical role in assisting and helping local communities in preventing and reducing illegal
drug supply and demand. i want to note that i appreciate the chairman having two hearings this week. this committee does its best work on a bipartisan basis and focuses on improving the government efficiency and effectiveness. however, while the mission of ondcp is crucial and vigilance proper, last year we reauthorized. in that reauthorization, ondcp was given roles -- i think mr. chairman, you and i agree that we want the office to succeed. so while oversight and focus proper, i hope we don't prematurely pre judge and -- that being said, i look forward to hearing from director carroll about how his office, his agency and his grant programs can effectively coordinate a response to the epidemic. this is a seminal public health crisis in our time. i also look forward to hearing
from gao and the program. i want to thank all of you for the time you have spent to be here and i look forward to hearing from you in a few minutes. >> i want to thank our ranking member. i'd like to briefly recognize our colleague representative from the great state of texas. mr. cloud who has a constituent testifying today. i yield the gentleman two minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have the distinct honor of introducing michael mcdaniel, the director of the houston high -- program. i want to compliment him on his gishd career in law enforcement. for the last years, he's been the lead at the program that oversees 17 counties and five of which are in my district. i know you do great work throughout the region and look forward to hearing for from you.
thanks for taking the time to be here. >> welcome mr. mcdaniel. >> i want to welcome ondcp director james carroll. triana mcneill, the acting director of homeland security and justice of the government accountability office, who is accompanied by mccauley, the acting director of health care and mike mcdaniel, of course, the director of the houston high intensity drug trafficking area. he was ably introduced by representative cloud. i thank them for participating in today's hearing. if you all would please stand and raise your right hands. do you swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth
and nothing but the truth so help you god? you may be seated. let the record show that the witnesses answered in the affirmative and i want it to thank you. now, the microphones are very sensitive. so please speak into them directly. make sure you turn them on when you get ready to talk. without objection, your written statements will be made a part of the record. with that, director carroll, you are now recognized to give an oral presentation. again, i try to be flexible with our witnesses so that you can get out what you want to say. but i would like for you to keep it within the five minutes. but i try to work with you. if you work with us. all right? >> mr. carroll. >> thank you, chairman cummings, ranking member jordan and members of the committee. thank you for inviting the office of national drug control
policy to discuss the challenge america faces from the opioid epidemic and the broader addiction crisis. addiction does in the discriminate. it impacts people from all walks of life regardless of race, religion, creed, socioeconomic status. addiction and death from drug overdose are callously indifferent. this is truly a crisis impacting all americans. we must be relentless in our efforts to save the lives of fellow citizens. chairman cummings, as you stated, over 70,000 americans lost their lives in 2017 to drug overdoses. approximately 192 people a day who have died from this. overdose involving opioids have increased by 500% since 1999. the drug trafficking environment that we face today is expo tensionally more dynamic and more dangerous than it was just five years ago. the internet offers new and unique challenges.
drugs come into the country at a high volume through our mail system, commercial carriers or smuggled across our land borders. the obstacles we face could not be greater. the opioid epidemic powerful synthetic drugs, psycho active drugs, such as methamphetamine and a stark increase in the availability and use of cocaine to name just a few. to further complicate this, the environment is constantly changing in response to our actions. almost instantly, traffickers respond to the countermeasures we implement. to address this crisis, i have retooled our approach, retooled our strategy and our office to deal with this new environment. in january, we released the trump administration's national drug control strategy. this strategy is much different from previous strategies and fundamentally improves on the priors. the strategy is a forward-looking document and has a clearly defined vision and
broad metrics to assess the performance of a federal government. the administration's strategy reflects an in-depth understanding of the addiction crisis, the means to save american lives today and how we must actively anticipate the future evolution of this crisis. the 2016 national drug control strategy which was in place when i arrived had only two broad and poorly defined dpoels. there were indeed, new ner cume targets associated with this. ondcp had only met three of the goals. two of them had nothing to do with illicit drugs. there was no mention of priorities in the strategy and no strategic vision. it was not a strategy. it was a report card on drug use in america and it was a failing one at that. doing business the way we have for the past several decades was not going to work. a nation facing the greatest
drug crisis in history demanded a new strategy and new ondcp. in late january, i informed congress of my desire to transform ondcp's operating structure to better align with congress's intent and vision for the office. thp new structure reinforces the aspects of ondcp that have been successful. it unifies our availability reduction and public health efforts to focus on tangible outcomes and allows ondcp to focus on making drug policy. to bolster our public health expertise, i'm proud to announce that for the first time we're creating a public health unit with a chief medical officer to better coordinate efforts across the federal government. a robust public health unit with a focus on the importance of treatment and recovery is paramount to achieving this. i would like to thank the committee for its work to
develop the most recent ondcp reauthorization in 12 years. your steadfast support of ondcp positions the agency to meet it responsibilities to the american people. at ondcp, we realize that the only criterion that really matters is reducing the number of deaths of americans caused by these dangerous drugs. it is the primary focus of our efforts and will be the only true measure of our success. i appreciate the committee's ongoing interest in working with ondcp and i look forward to continue to working with members of this committee. thank you. thank you very much. staying within that five minutes, man. thank you. ms. mcneill. chairman cummings. ranking member jordan and members of the committee. i am pleased to be here today to discuss gao's preliminary findings on the 2019 national drug control strategy. critical steps that ondcp still
needs to take to address deficiencies that we have previously identified. these deficiencies need to be addressed so they can coordinate and oversee the efforts of the dozen-plus agencies combatting illicit drug use. this is a crisis that resulted in 70,000 deaths in 2017 alone. ondcp is required to do a number of things based on the 2006 statute and the recent support act. they're required to develop the strategy and it is also required to work with agencies to develop an annual drug budget. the 2006 statute with the strategy is based calls on ondcp it to, among, other things, identify annual measurable objectives with specific targets. describe a performance measurement system to track
progress. includes specific assessments to provide a baseline of illicit drug use and availability, to neighbor ondcp to see improvements throughout the year. and prepare five-year estimates on program and budget priorities. based on our preliminary analys analysis, the strategy does not include many of these requirements. for example, it lacks annual measurable objectives and specific targets. it lists seven broad measures of performance but does not indicate how they would be measured or how they relate to long-term or short-term goals. some of the seven measures don't even have time lines. the strategy also is completely void of any performance measurement system. how can ondcp track its own progre progress? how can they be held accountable without this critical system in
place? moving forward we will attempt to answer these questions and others, especially those centered around ondcp's efforts to certified budgets without a national strategy. since this 2019 strategy is the first since 2016. chairman cummings, ranking member jordan, members of the committee, this concludes my prepared statement. i would be happy to respond to any questions you may have. thank you very much. mr. mcdaniel. >> chairman cummings, ranking member jordan and distinguished members of the committee, i'm honored to appear before you today to offer testimony highlighting the high intensity drug trafficking area program better known at hida. and to speak to drug control efforts by ondcp. i've been involved in drug law enforcement for the past 36 years beginning as a police
officer with the city of houston and then 24 years as an agent with the drug enforcement administration. i became -- i retired from dea when i became the director. i have been involved with the program since it began in houston in 1991. without reservation, i can attest that this is the only law enforcement program in the country that successfully unites federal, state and local law enforcement working side by side for one common cause, and that is to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations. houston hidta is one of the four in the state of texas. the houston hida region essentially hugs the coastline of texas from the louisiana border counsdown to north of brownsville, texas. we target the regional drug threats most -- along with
maritime threats, interdiction efforts, along highway infrastructure and drug seizures and arrests from the checkpoints along the southwest border. houston hida is fortunate that we haven't seen it ravage our communities to the degree that it has many of our other hidas and to many of in your districts. our major threats in houston are methamphetamine, cocaine and synthetic drugs. each of the 32 hida's across the country have an executive order comprised of an equal number of federal, state, local and tribal heads that direct every group as to how they will pursue their particular drug threats in their area. this leadership model creates
ability for each board to quickly and efficiently adapt to emerging drug threats. the program has demonstrated success and development in other innovative and strategic partnerships in the had you been safety and public health realms. the program is not arresting lower-end users and addicts but rather is trying to assist the addicts by pointing them towards effective treatment and make all attempts to educate them toward better alternatives. this is being accomplished through our strategic partnerships. the emerging partnerships between public health and public safety have never been more important to the program. we have the perfect platform for the partnerships. recently released by ondcp shows a focus add and balanced
approach. we'll work alongside them for the strategy. it's an essential component of the national drug control strategy. the 27 regional hida and the southwest regions are active in all 50 states with the recent inclusion of the state of ala a alaska. they provide ondcp with real-time and directs access to all regional drug issues to enhance coordinated implementation of the drug control strategy in the nation. ondcp and the program currently enjoy a collaborative and cooperative working relationship that has never been stronger especially in the light of the recent confirmation of james carroll. hida is working hand in hand toward an effective response to this nation's opioid crisis. over the past three years, there's been discussion about moving it out from under ondcp.
as a retired dea agent, i believe this would be the end of a successful program. the hida program does not adhere to the views or mandates of any one agency. our existing position allows hida the flexibility and adaptability to addressee merging threats in a timely fashion. removing hida and the d -- would be cutting the legs out from ondcp in my opinion and make them ineffective in the ainbili to oversee this strategy. thank you for t testify before you today. i look forward to answering your questions. thank you very much. i appreciate all of you all coming in within the five minutes. just want to tell you, mr. mcdaniel, i agree with you with regard to hida being moved. we have a great one in baltimore as you probably well know. mr. norton, for five
minutes. >> thank you very much. mr. chairman, this is an exquisitely important hearing and my questions begin with you mr. carroll. director carroll. i served in a -- as head of an agency in a democratic administration and learned that the buck stopped really with me and that's all there was to t so i am concerned that the failures of the office may be a failure in leaderships so that we're seeing no reduction in overdose deaths and you just heard a very negative report card from the gao. i'm very concerned that that report card showed no way to measure or know if we're making progress. let me see what progress has been made. early last year, a 24-year-old former trump campaign worker
with no prior drug control experience was appointed deputy chief of staff of the office. replacing a career civil servant who was moved to make room for that person. who made that decision and have other experienced career civil servants been reassigned to make room for political appointees? >> i'm sorry. director carroll. >> i can't hear you. >> can you hear me now? >> yeah. >> i'm sorry. congresswoman, can you hear me now? >> i can. >> thank you. congresswoman, the 24-year-old deputy chief of staff to whom you refer, all of that happened prior to my arrival. putting that person in place, including the removal of that
person -- >> have other experienced civil servants since you've been -- since you arrived then moved to make room for political appoint ease for similar positions? >> quite frankly, it's just the opposite. i moved an experienced career ses person in the deputy chief of staff role to help lead the agency there. the 24-year-old that you mentioned, i had no involvement bringing them on board or dismissing them. as i said, all i've done is promote and bring into leadership career ses individuals. >> in november 2017, the a attorney general announced that kellyanne conway would coordinate and lead the administration's efforts to combat opioids. is miss conway still coordinating and leading the trump administration opioid
efforts? >> thank you for the question. as you know, i started in february of 2018. so six months after that announcement. i make the policy at ondcp for the nation on drug policy. kellyanne conway is a wonderful asset to have. she's the primary communicator. >> is she still leading and coordinating? >> no, ma'am. i coordinate and lead policy. she coordinates communications as you see her on television multiple times a day. >> is the opioid cabinet, which she apparently convened, is that still in existence and is the acting director of the agency who is also a career employee and policy expert was not invited to those meetings, is that cabinet still in existence? >> that's a communications cabinet. that's for the communicators at the agencies to come together to give miss conway, mrs. conway, all of the latest activities so
she can communicate them to the public in such a fashion. we always send our communicators to that meeting as well. >> the agency produced any documents that would help us understand what you joined to reduce opioid deaths? >> has the ondcp? >> the cabinet -- these cabinet meetings have any documents come out of these meetings, for that matter, out of the agency measuring how you intend to reduce opioid deaths? >> in terms of documents that mrs. conway might produce in terms of her communication strategy, i wouldn't have access to those. i refer you for documents -- >> i'm talking about documents out of those meetings, not personal documents i'm trying to find out what's been produced to show there is a strategy for reducing opioid deaths which happens to -- >> i do not know what documents
kellyanne conway produces. >> are there any documents that you know of whether or not produced by ms. conway? >> gentle lady's time expired. >> could she that last question. >> could she repeat the last question? >> perhaps no documents came out of ms. conway. how about documents that show how you intend to reduce opioid deaths in light of the report card you got from the gao. are there any documents that you could offer to this committee that could help us know theat yu are reducing opioid deaths? >> yes, ma'am. >> could you provide them to the chairman of the committee? >> yes, ma'am. >> you may answer. >> the national drug control strategy sets out the vision and strategic guidance to help reduce overdose deaths in america.
the documents that we relied upon to produce it, the data supplement will be available in a few weeks. >> thank you, chairman. again, thanks for being here today. director mcdaniel, you know, as much as any, one of the major areas of concern when it comes to drug trafficking is south texas. the area that we both work in. law enforcement has what they call the fatal funnel, where drugs come across the southern border, find their way to major arteries, come up through my district on to houston and then throughout the nation. and we know opioids and fentanyl are major concerns in the 2018 houston hida threat assessment report, it was mentioned, and in your testimony, about meth, cocaine, synthetic drugs, also being a major concern.
and if it's all right with the chair, i would ask unanimous consent to submit the 2018 houston hida threat assessment report. >> without objection. >> thank you. this report says that as the drug market has become increasingly flooded with methamphetamine, from mexico, problems related to its use are becoming more transparent. for instance, staff and emergency departments in victoria and oasis counties, in the southern houston hida reported methamphetamine as the primary drug for which patients are seeking emergency services, this report also talks about human smuggling being a major issue. it says that most southern houston hida counties are affected to some extent as smugglers legally bring them north to houston where they are housed until transportation fees have been paid. recent reports have confirmed our fears for long, often when
they talk about the transportation fees being paid, they are paying with their bodies. this is certainly a tragic and it relates to today's discussion, in the sense that these cartels don't view this as anything but business, whether it's drugs, or whether it's humans. coming across our border. as a matter of fact, they foster this human crisis that we have at the border in order to tax our systems, to get drugs across easier. and so my question to you is how important is the strong border security in enabling and equipping what you're trying to get done? >> it's extremely important to law enforcement and to houston hida for aggressive border security package, and i'm very appreciative of this committee and of congress for providing us whatever resources we can get to strengthen that border to help us in all speaks of what we're encountering out there. >> and we understand that border security needs to include a physical barrier, and it needs to include boots on the ground,
technology, all those things in place. where have physical barriers been put in place, we have seen 90% reduction in foot traffic in a lot of areas but there is always the discussion of tunnels and where you can climb over walls and tunnel under walls. can you relate the difference between drug trafficking and human trafficking as it relates? >> would you clarify that? >> yes, in the sense are drugs coming through tunnels, are humans coming through tunnels? >> it's been my experience in my law enforcement career that primarily drugs are coming through the tunnels that are going underneath the barriers on the border. and if you can imagine the cartels are spending millions of dollars to come up with an elaborate tunnel that goes from the mexico side to the u.s. side.
and it is not feasible for them to actually run human smuggling through those tunnels, because if some of those aliens get caught and apprehended, the first thing they can do is cooperate with law enforcement, and tell them where that tunnel is, and something that may have taken a year and millions of dollars to build, by the cartel, they do not want to allow that to happen, so they're using the tunnels primarily for drugs. i hope i've answered your question. >> yes, it does. one of the habits we have i guess, as a federal government, is coming up with these one size fits all approaches and i think one of the great things that hida does, it allows you to work with a local law enforcement, you understand the local issues, could you describe why local discretion is critical to the program's success? >> we, law enforcement has to have a comprehensive package, and we can't have silos in law enforcement, no more than we can have silos with treatment and prevention.
but it's extremely important, the hida program, the reason it has been so successful, is it gets state and local, federal, and all of those entities, in one room, working towards a common cause. and it gives the locals the same voice, but it is just amazing what can happen when we all bring our intelligence and our database together and working towards one common cause, and that's to disrupt drug organizations. >> thank you. and my time's about up. i let me say once again, thank you for your service. >> thank you, sir. >> thank you very much. we will now hear from ms. wasserman-schultz. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. carroll, on february 19, president trump declared a national emergency to fund his border wall. which he has said will quote stop drugs from coming into our country. but the administration's own statistics show that crossings and apprehensions are at historic lows. mr. mcdaniel just indicated in response to mr. cloud's
questions, that drugs are being funneled when they aren't coming over, coming in at our lawful ports of entry, in tunnels. underneath walls. where we do have them along the border. in my home state of florida, over a,000 people have died from a drug overdose in just one year. and the numbers are growing. let me be clear. a border wall would not stop illegal drugs from coming into florida. florida is a peninsula. the vast majority of illegal drugs are coming into our country through our ports of entry. despite president trump's promise to do whatever it takes to combat the opioid crisis, his national emergency declaration would take $600 million from the treasury department's drug forfeiture fund, and $2.5 billion from the department of defense drug interdiction program and also take by the way $3.6 billion from our military
construction budget. i chair the military construction and veterans affairs appropriations subcommittee so i know just how harmful these cuts would be to critical military projects and our service members. your president trump's principle adviser on drug control issues. test test test . >> i appreciate that very much. i want to pivot to mr. mcdaniel, my fellow texas. you said in your opening statement the importance of cartels in driving our current crisis. you agree that cartels are a driver of our human trafficking crisis as well as the opioid crisis. >> that's true. they're using the cartels to move both drugs and humans. >> you said cartels and gangs targeted law enforcement initiates are predators that exist to make money and harm the communities of our nation. i do not see the difference between these cartels and many of the designated terrorist organizations also seeking destruction of society. my experience in talking to people who actually know what's going on because they live on
the border, those people tell me that cartels are driving the human trafficking crisis. do you agree? >> absolutely. >> profiting by moving hundreds of thousands of people through the rio grande valley sector. >> yes, sir. >> making upwards of $130 million. >> yes, sir. >> are they profiting by moving people across the border? >> yes, sir. >> is moving people across the border distracting from moving narcotics at the same time? >> no. it's all about money for the cartels.
>> a wall is not going to cut it. >> a wall will actually cut it. a wall will cut it. >> even though mr. mcdaniels says that -- >> it is one method. if i can answer your question about drugs coming between ports of entry, the most recent data i have from customs and border protection which came out i believe the beginning of this week shows that just in fiscal year 2018, 400 pounds of fentanyl came between the ports of entry. ma'am, i'm trying to answer your question. >> excuse me. reclaiming my time. reclaiming my time. mr. chairman, reclaiming my time. >> the gentle lady's time has expired but i'm going to let her
clarify her question so you then can answer. i want to be fair to you and be fair to her. >> thank you, sir. >> briefly. >> briefly, a couple of weeks ago at port everglades in my district the coast guard had intercepted $500 million in drugs that they intercepted on the water which a wall would not have helped us with. >> you may now. >> god bless the coast guard. they are our front line of interdicting drugs coming in from the sea. >> they are the ones in fiscal year 20186500 pounds of cocaine came between the ports of entry. so far in 2019 cbp has
interdicted 8100 pounds of cocaine coming in between the border. in fiscal year 2017, 2018 and so far into 2019, we're up to almost a 1800, 1900 pounds alone of fentanyl in between the points of entry. >> if all we do is block that door, they'll come through the next most vulnerable place. >> so the coast guard doing its
job -- >> no. >> the president put forward a proposal that was comprehensive. >> yes, sir. >> it wasn't just about wall funding. >> yes, sir. >> did this congress completely reject their duty to do what's necessary to fund the border so president not put forward a comprehensive plan that was rejected by this congress? >> when i'm meeting with parents who have lost a child that's what they talk about is how are we stopping this poison from killing our kids.
enough to kill a human being? >> based on purity, absolutely. >> was it true that when president trump was at the border with senators cruz and cornyn, they wouldn't even put fentanyl in the room because the secret service thought it was too dangerous to be about the president of the united states? >> i heard the same thing. >> how much fentanyl at this kind of amount that would fit in 112 pounds of fentanyl that have been collected between the ports of entry, it's a massive amount and would kill millions of americans. >> in a variety of ways, including sprinkling it on drugs that people don't even know that it's on that. in chico, california, people thought they were snorting powdered cocaine but it had fentanyl. all 14 of them overdosed thinking they were doing some other drug. >> i appreciate that.
you said in your opening statement the experience of cartels in driving our current crisis. you agree that cartels are a driver of our human trafficking crisis as well as the opioid crisis. >> that's true. they're using the cartels to move both drugs and humans. >> you said cartels and gangs targeted law enforcement anywheretive initiates are predators that exist to make money and harm the communities of our nation. i do not see the difference between these cartels and many of the designated terrorist organizations also seeking destruction of society. my experience in talking to people who actually know what's going on because they live on the border, those people tell me that cartels are driving the human trafficking crisis. do you agree? >> absolutely. >> profiting by moving hundreds of thousands of people through
the rio grande valley sector. >> yes, sir. >> making upwards of $130 million. >> yes, sir. >> are they profiting by moving people across the border? >> yes, sir. >> is moving people across the border distracting from moving narcotics at the same time? >> no. it's all about money for the cartels. >> do you believe that my colleague and i are correct to call on the secretary of state to define them as foreign terrorist organizations? >> yes, sir. >> gentleman's time has expired. >> mr. connolly. >> thank you, mr. chairman. interesting to hear a colleague talk about which party cares more about an opioid crisis. it seems to me it doesn't know party lines. but if we're serious about this opioid crisis, the actions of this administration don't look it. to have a 24-year-old campaign
aide being the deputy chief of staff of something so grave is deeply troubling. now we have a 23-page strategy, 23 pages. when george w. bush was president in 2001, he issued 189-page strategy that was comprehensive. and the next year he supplemented it with another 119-page strategy. ms. mcneal have you looked at this 23-page strategy? >> yes, we have. >> would you describe it as comprehensive? >> the way we described it and this is preliminary, we focused on four aspects of what was required in the strategy. it lacked measurable specific objectives. we would have expected annual
and measurable objectives with specific targets. >> is that included? >> no, it is not. we would have expected a performance measurement system that also included the types of data and their quality. >> is that included? >> it is not. we also would have expected baselines, which the statute that this strategy is based upon refers to as assessments, assessments of illegal drug availability as well as the state of drug treatment in the u.s. that's not in the strategy. >> that's not included? >> not included. neither is five-year projections on budget and program priorities. >> really? well, i asked you is it a comprehensive statement. i think you've just answered the question. it's anything but comprehensive, is that correct? >> it's lacking a number of things required by the 2006
statute. >> in terms of reporting requirement, this is by law and it doesn't meet those requirements? >> yes. >> now, i understand that in response to the criticism of the inadequacy of this report, which is anything but a strategy, that ondcp said they are going to issue a 208-page supplement. >> this is the first we've heard of this. >> mr. carol, can you enlighten us on what this 208-page national drug control strategy after two years in office the trump administration is going to provide and when can we see it? >> thank you. >> final point, and will it address the inadequacies ms. mcneal just enumerated? >> thank you. to address your earliest comment about a 24-year-old deputy chief of staff, that was prior to my arrival and that person left long before i arrived. >> thank god.
>> in terms of the strategy itself, with 70,000 americans dying, maintaining the status quo would be reckless. the national drug control strategy that my office released which is 23 or 24 pages long, when you look at other national strategies, the national security strategy, the military strategy, national defense strategy -- >> mr. carroll, please don't talk over me. this is my time. i have one minute left. i'm asking you to address what is going to be in the 208 pages? because we just heard testimony that you haven't even met the requirements of the law. >> i'm addressing all of your questions if you'll let me finish. >> no, sir. you will answer based on the question put to you. >> i will, sir. >> we don't have filibusters here in the house. >> i'm not. i'm answering. those other strategies average 25 pages as well. >> is the 208 page -- is it
going to address the statutory requirements ms. mcneal said you didn't meet in this 23-page document, yes or no? >> it's not a yes or no question. >> you don't know how you're going to answer it. >> it's not a yes or no question. >> i don't think it's a very difficult question to say will the 208-page supplement address what was not addressed here required by statute. >> it's not a yes or no question. may i answer? >> you can try. you haven't been doing it so far. >> thank you. >> go ahead. time has expired but you may answer the question. >> thank you, sir. the strategy, when it was written, if you look at page four of the strategy, it reads it also provides federal drug control departments and agencies the strategic items they need for developing their own drug control plans and strategies. it goes on and explains and as we did when we released the national drug control strategy,
that we will work with the agencies, the 15 covered under this, to develop the strategies and metrics to address the statutory requirement that my colleague just referenced. the 200-page data supplement will be forthcoming in a few weeks. it's just that. it's a data supplement. it's not intended to be the metrics and quantifiable information that will be forthcoming as we work through the interagency process that's already begun. >> mr. jordan. >> ms. mcneal, looking at the status that we are today, you would say that the summary of previous administrations' objectives have been successful? >> the scope of our audit -- >> 70,000 people dying, as a former prescriber of these types of drugs, that does not look like a success to me. >> the trends are continuing to increase. >> so you'll agree they've been a failure?
>> i can't say it's been a failure. >> so 70,000 people dying is a success? >> i would say it's a crisis. >> thank you. so it's been a failure. director carroll, i quite understand the complexity of this, being a former prescription person, very frugal at that. there's unintended consequences. i'm from western arizona. i have a population that is fairly old. they're dual eligible. so some of the consequences of counting pills actually backfire on us, particularly with our veterans, our infirmed, those suffering from some pain applications. a lot of these folks are forced underground because of some of the previous measures where they can get some of these elicit drugs cheaper, right? >> that is correct. >> now, i want to highlight what some of the problems are, because two of my friends from texas kind of highlighted that
particularly with fentanyl, you don't get second chances. >> only by the grace of god. >> that's right. >> a lot of these overdoses, some people are actually taking something that is completely different. it could be a sleep drug and it's laced and they don't ever wake up. >> that's true. that's why there needs to be a really balanced approach to this. >> so we always hear that 90% of all the drugs are caught at the border crossings. >> yes, sir. >> most of our border patrol are located where? >> at the borders? >> along the border crossing. >> yes, sir. >> 40% of these illegal drugs are coming through this aorta of drug trade. that's the numbers, 40% of all illegal drugs are coming through the arizona portal.
you've got a number of border patrol agents covering vast amount of real estate, is that true? >> i've flown over in cbp helicopters. it's unbelievable how vast it is and what we're asking the cbp to do with manpower alone. >> you've got to be familiar with arizona. >> yes, sir, i am. >> vast areas and what ends up happening, this type of trade is very interrelated, human trafficking, because when you intentionally move human trafficking, it takes a lot of operational people to inventory them, true? >> yes, sir. >> so as those limited resources of border patrol agents are managing and inventorying human assets, what happens with drugs? >> they're both intertwined. they're flowing through with the same people, the same coyotes. so when the border patrol is
having to detain the persons, it could be potentially worse for the drugs to go unnoticed. >> so the number that the public keeps hearing of 90% of all interdicted drugs are at our border crossings is a false premise. >> those are the unknowns of what we're not catching. >> mr. roy actually highlighted some of those. we're seeing some of these interdictions by luck and haphazard in many many cases just because limited assets are out there. this is exponentially bigger than what we're comprehending, is that true? >> yes, sir. >> when you interdict these drugs, are they ounces, pounds? >> a long the border crossings, they're large quantities. obviously the cartels are not going to waste time moving small amounts.
the only small amounts that we're getting off defendants that are being apprehended are personal use stuff that they have on their possession. >> last thing, just as a statement, the president's emergency order covered the top ten things in regards to what border patrol enumerated as our top ten protocols, is that true? >> i'm not familiar with that, sir. >> director carroll, would you agree? >> i know they enumerated specific protocols in terms of ranking them to stop the flow of drugs coming across. >> ms. maloney. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for calling this hearing. it looks like it's a national crisis. more than 70,000 americans have died from drug overdoses in 2017 alone and perhaps as many as
140,000 americans have died from overdoses in the first two years of the trump administration. on a more personal note, they gave me numbers. we researched it on the number in new york, the number of drug overdoses in new york is over 3900 in 2017. the number of drug deaths caused by opioids, over 3224. i just have to say, mr. carroll, that it's absolutely inexcusable that the administration did not bother to issue a national drug control strategy during the first two years that he was in office. i assume you just joined the administration, is that correct? when did you join? >> i joined the office of national drug control policy as the deputy director and acting director in february and march
of last year. >> basically after two years of having no strategy, the administration finally released one this january, this 24-page report. now director carroll, in your written testimony you wrote that this new national drug control strategy, quote, is much different from previous strategies and improves on them in fundamental ways, end quote. that is correct? >> yes, ma'am. >> does the strategy identify the specific years that it is meant to cover? >> the statute that reauthorized ondcp covers the two years and five year metrics. >> it covers it, but did they identify it as two years and five years? >> no ma'am. the interagency process that's already begun as outlined in the national drug control strategy is underway to develop the national drug control plans and
strategies programmatic and resource decisions about how federal dollars are allocated. >> the strategy that was presented, did that have the specific one, two or three or five years because i didn't see it in the report. >> it wasn't meant to, no, ma'am. that's what we're working on right now. >> does it identify the amount of funding needed to implement the activities mentioned in the strategy report? the amount of funding, i could not find it. was it in there? >> yes, ma'am. well, in terms of the strategy itself, it relies on the $34 billion approximately that congress sets aside that we control through the programmatic structure of the budget review. the budget review letters to the agencies are going out this spring. as we work on the interagency plan, that's how we'll program it.
>> the strategy report didn't mention the number. >> it was never meant to and we are working on it now, yes, ma'am. >> does it identify quantifiable metrics that can be used to assess whether the program agencies are making progress toward achieving the strategy's goals? >> the document was the strategy and the vision. the why and what we need to do. what we're working on now is the how. that will absolutely address what you just raised. i look forward to working with you all so we can produce these quantifiable information. >> we'll have to have you come back. all three of my questions it's basically a no, it wasn't in the strategy report. >> wasn't meant to be, ma'am. >> okay. in your written statement that the national drug control strategy released in february is fully formed, right?
>> it's absolutely fully formed. we're saving american lives. we'll be implementing it through the interagency process. >> you state you're assuming a data supplement which will include a list of quantifiable two and five-year benchmarks to measure progress over the life of the strategy. i guess my question basically is, if the strategy is so fully formed, why do you need a data supplement that appears intended to contain information that by law is required to be in the strategy? >> i'll have to confirm and get back with your staff but my understanding is the data supplement has been historically for many years published afterwards. >> if i could real quick, unanimous consent request, congressman kensinger was recently deployed. i'd like to enter into the record.
>> no objection. >> director carroll, obviously there is a disconnect between your strategy and what gao, ms. mcneal is suggesting is in it. i think part of the conundrum that we're in is that members of congress in a bipartisan way rely very heavily on gao. as politely as i can mention, you need to make ms. mcneal happy. are you willing to do that? >> we've been working with them for the past year. my goal is to make everyone happy. >> that is impossible in washington, d.c. all i'm saying is ms. mcneal, the gao, i'm a huge fan. >> i am too. >> what we need to do is we need to have a timeline. what you're hearing from some at this particular point is that
your strategy along with the gao analysis is at odds. now, in your mind, it's not. i hear that. you're going to do the supplement and the matrix. anything that's not measured is not achievable. what would be a reasonable time frame to address some of the concerns that ms. mcneal has raised specifically for me i'm looking at matrix and how do we measure success. what would be a reasonable time frame to address the top three concerns that ms. mcneal mentioned in her testimony? >> the data supplement that we just talked about is being finalized now. that should be ready to go in the next few weeks. i think today is march 11th or 12th. that should be ready by the end of this month. the interagency process will continue to coordinate with gao.
i'd hope that would be ready in 60 days. >> are you willing to commit to have both of those things or at least a status update back to chairman cummings in 60 days back to this committee? >> absolutely. >> when i heard ms. mcneal's report it was like nails on a chalk board. it did not reflect well. yet your testimony is you continued to share what you're doing, it gives me greater comfort. it's obvious that you take this serious and that you know exactly how the crisis that we are in. here's what i would ask of you. if you can help chairman cummings and ranking member jordan understand the priority that you're placing on this, i believe that from what i understand you take this personal, is that correct?
>> congressman meadows, if i may, less than two years ago, 20 months ago approximately, i was in a detox center with a family member who had an addiction. they came forward to us and they were over the age of 21. we didn't know that they even were taking a prescription. sadly that's what happens with so many parents. thankfully they came forward to us and we took them first to a detox center at a hospital, then got them into treatment and now with a lot of prayer and a lot of great professional help we're 20 months into what i think is long-term recovery. it seems kind of short-term. sir, i'm personally committed every morning i get up to be relentless on this issue. i want every family to have the
success story that i really hope and pray that my family's having. i'm all in. when i first started out in my career as a criminal prosecutor and i mainly did drug cases for a county in virginia and the prosecutor that i worked for said you'll know when it's time to leave. just like your jobs, my current job, that's a demanding job. he'd said you know when it's time to leave when you no longer have the fire in your belly. i've got fire in my belly. i pray every day that we're making a difference. this really is a bipartisan issue. i'm all in. >> i thank you, director carroll. i'll close with this. this particular issue has brought people from both sides of the aisle together. in the privacy of really back rooms trying to make sure that we reauthorize this, chairman cummings advocated in an unbelievable way to make sure this got reauthorized.
we want to give you the tools. we just ask that you make the commitment. it sounds like you're willing to do that and i yield back. >> let me just clarify something. first of all, i want to thank the gentleman for what he said. you basically have adopted something i've been advocating for years. and that is there's some witnesses we bring back. chairman gowdy, chairman chaffetz, there are some witnesses we bring back so we can keep up with them and keep up with their progress. because what we found, and those three chairmen agreed with me, was that a lot of people will
come and testify and then time goes by, new congress comes in, new people come in, problem goes on. so i want to thank you, first of all, for what you just said. but second, we've going to hold you to that 60 days. >> absolutely. >> and we will not make it one day less but 60 days, all right? got that? >> yes, sir. the data supplement should be out this week. we'll do a -- >> i want to make sure that we are talking about the same thing. as i listen to ms. mcneal, she said there is a law with certain things that are supposed to be in this report. am i right? >> yes, sir. >> i don't want you coming back and saying i didn't tell you. >> i agree with ms. mcneal.
>> this is not necessarily a dispute between you and gao. this is you and the law, am i right? am i missing something? >> no. you're correct. >> okay. the law. this is what all of us voted on. so you got me? you understand what you're bringing back? >> yes, sir. >> and ms. mcneal, so that we will all be clear, would you give us, would you summarize what it is that we should expect in 60 days? got that? >> yes, sir. >> ms. kelly. >> thank you, mr. chair. congress created the highly successful program over decades ago to assist law enforcement agencies operating critical drug trafficking areas across the country. mr. mcdaniel you spent 24 years with the dea. you state the program is an essential component of the national drug control strategy.
can you explain why the program is essential to the national drug control strategy? >> thank you for the question. we are the eyes and ears for ondcp. at a moment's notice the director can have access to all those state and local resources and more importantly our treatment and prevention partners. and he has instant access. and the particular incident he was talking about in california where everybody was having overdosed, he was able to reach out there saying get me the information quick. >> thank you. we received testimony that as early as 2017 career staff and ondcp were working on a draft national drug control strategy. mr. mcdaniel did they provide input to the strategy? >> yes, we did.
>> did you write any portions of the draft strategy? >> we did revisions. >> after two years, president trump finally released a national drug control strategy. it's only 23 pages long. was the input you provided on the draft strategy included in the final drug control strategy issued by the president? >> in an overall framework view, yes, ma'am. >> what do you mean by overall? >> all the input we gave for the 2017 version, it was in there but it was in a larger scale. it wasn't in the detail of the document we assisted with in 2017. >> did ondcp ask you to provide input into the development of the final 23 draft pages? >> not in the same manner we did in 2017, but in a collaborative effort of using what was going on in the hyda program
throughout the country as helping them to come up with final product. >> so do you know what happened to the strategy for which you did provide input? >> i do not. >> what are the most important things that were not included in the strategy released in january in your view? >> i'm not sure i would be a good person to say what was not included. only because what ended up coming in this 23-page summary was just a large framework without any specific details. >> so do you believe that the strategy released in january provides adequate detail? doesn't sound like you do on the goals that hyda should be working on or the resources they need to achieve those goals you feel there needs to be more detail? >> in my opinion hyda is going to do exactly what we've always done so well. that only provides the over view framework but it's not going to change what we're doung. we're actually changing the way
we do business every month. there's something new and innovative out there. i had conversations with director carroll that we will be having conversations in the future and having a little more input in future drug control strategies. >> thank you. director carroll, can you explain why the things mr. mcdaniel has just told us, what he's saying is more general. like why didn't they have more input? >> they did have input into the national drug control strategy. as director mcdaniel stated, they provided input originally when the first draft was written. that draft was used to help produce the one that was just published back in january as well as the opioid strategy as well as the chris christie commission. all of those documents, everything that had been
collected, all of the input was boiled down and distilled into the report that was issued in january. >> you're saying you used that as a resource or backdrop? >> yes, ma'am. i just want to mention also because i do believe it's a very bipartisan issue. the hyda, in addition to doing the law enforcement work, we have several in your district of the drug free communities. the boards of the hyda, the law enforcement side, also sit with the prevention on the boards of our drug free communities so they can provide that overlap in one group of both law enforcement and prevention together in one community. >> go ahead. >> okay. >> i gave him a little leeway over here. >> director carroll, will you provide this committee a list of
all stake holders consulted in the 23 page strategy? >> yes. >> last month i met with a group of folks in my office from the south central kentucky drug task force. they spoke with me in depth about the drug epidemic in kentucky, which like many states is in -- you know, it's a serious, serious issue. the kentucky state oncdp director was present at this meeting and he agreed with the notion that the drugs that are destroying our communities are coming from mexico. that is why we must secure the border. and if we can't get agreement from the other party on securing the border, then i support the president's measures to declare a national emergency, because we have a terrible drug epidemic. it seems like in the rural areas, which in districts like
mine is pretty much the entire district, the drug problem gets worse every day. it's not getting any better. according to the cdc, kentucky along with over a dozen other states were labeled as having a statistically significant drug overdose death rate increase from 2016 to 2017. kentucky had an 11% increase from 2016 to 2017. drug overdoses killed 1566 people from my state in 2017, 170 deaths in my district alone. and between 2013 and 2017, fentanyl seizures by the kentucky state police have risen by more than 14,000%. that's not a typo. at the same time, meth seizures have increased by 299%. the fact of the matter is that deadly drugs continue to pour
across our border and into our communities, including the vast majority of cocaine and heroin consumed in america. what occurs at the border touches even the smallest rural communities that you will never hear about. that's why i care so strongly about what happens at our borders with regards to illicit drugs coming across. that's why i remain committed to securing our borders from dangerous crime and drugs that are killing our people. director carroll, how does the ondcp utilize law enforcement partnerships across federal, state and local entities to address illicit drug trafficking? >> i want to thank all the efforts taking place in kentucky. i'm going there next week. i'll be meeting with some of the representatives at dhl where so many drugs are coming through. >> in northern kentucky, ups in louisville.
>> your constituents are really trying hard. in terms of understanding the ports of entry and maybe to answer your question about between the ports of entry, in the last two years the amount of fentanyl that dhs has seized between the ports of entry has increased over 468% between the ports of entry, just talking about fentanyl. the partnership with our friends at hyda working at the federal, state, local and tribal level are able to come together to provide us realtime instant data of exactly what's happening. i'm on a phone frequently with our hyda directors across the country finding out firsthand. i don't want to be a filter between the law enforcement folks, the treatment folks,
anyone who are able to reach out and touch. community anti-drug coalition is here in the room. i'm constantly on the phone with them in the evening. getting realtime data is key the working with our law enforcement partners. >> quickly, how does the ondcp leverage its relationships with mexico to disrupt the flow of illicit drugs? >> i work closely with our foreign partners. in colombia we were talking about cocaine. they have a new president. i've already met with him four times since he took office last fall, including two weeks ago when he was meeting with president trump and i participated. in china we talked about with chairman cummings. i'm heading to china again in april. frequent conversations pushing
them on class scheduling of fentanyl. mexico is certainly a challenge. we're working hard for the north american drug dialogue. >> time has expired. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank the witnesses. i also want to thank the ranking member for his efforts on this issue. it's a little hard to sit here having spent hours in state and local government in california on this issue. there's plenty of evidence based research about the investments we need to make in this country to stop this crisis. that's what this hearing is about, mr. carroll, is us getting performance standards from my perspective that are required by statute from you so we can measure it. i've heard people from the previous administration sit here and if members remember issues of the chemical safety board and the previous administration said
they had the fire in the belly. but if we can't manage your success, then you shouldn't be in that position. so far this administration by almost any standard has not managed well. so in terms of the legislation, the statute that mr. cummings referred to, hr 5925, the coordinated response through interagency strategy and information sharing act, the crisis act, along with the support for patients and communities act, which we passed by bipartisan effort to address this issue. and i want to recognize somebody i've worked closely with on the other side of the aisle, congressman buddy carter and i have worked on this extensively, particularly opioids, as the only pharmacist in congress i respect him immensely. but focusing on the evidence based research, we were able to get a number of amendments put into these statutes. ms. mcneal i believe you're referring to those amendments. i will add this was supported by
key stakeholders politically and policy-wise from both sides of the aisle. ms. mcneal, under that statute i understand the gao has recently begun its next audit of ondcp, is that correct? >> yes. >> when did the audit begin and did you have an intake meeting? >> we started that audit in the late fall and we had one interim conference meeting which is our initial kickoff meeting with ondcp in i think the early december time frame. >> have you asked for documents? >> yes, we have. >> have you received any? >> we have received some documents. a number of them are not substantive so they don't fully answer the questions that we have about, one, how they certified budgets in 2017 and 2018 without a strategy. they also don't provide substantive information about how they developed the strategy they issued in january.
>> director carroll, are you aware of this request? >> first i'm hearing there were still some documents outstanding. we've spoken with them almost every week since i've been the acting director since february of last year. whatever documents are outstanding, i commit to finding out what they are and moving as expeditiously as possible. >> ms. mcneal can you describe the difference from your perspective of what you've asked for, the responsiveness? my notes show you've only got about 10 pages. could you give us a measurement of what you've asked for, what you've received and what kind of timeline you would expect to get all the of the information. >> my staff prepared a document for me so i can go through. >> briefly please. >> what we asked for. if i can find it. i'll go off memory. the information that we specifically need, what type of
collaboration, who are the stakeholders that they coordinated with to develop the strategy. that's something that we think should be ready available -- specifically from the 2018 synthetic opioid report we issued. we did get information this week on recommendations, updates from ondcp. so our staff is at the office right now trying to understand is it enough to move that, have they addressed the deficiencies that we flagged. i talked about how they certified budgets. that's critical. we want to understand what guidance did they provide to agencies when they didn't have a strategy. those are the types of things. >> i only have 30 seconds. mr. carroll, it's enormously important consistent with what
the chair said and i believe the ranking number, we all want this information. you've talked about meeting with parents. i've met with parents, siblings, almost 200 people every day. there's a sense of urgency here. if you have a fire burning in you, you better have it full flame because every day people are dying. and having just this esoteric conversation about how much we care isn't important to me. it's the measurements. i think both parties agree with that. if we don't get this information in 60 days, expect us to be very critical of your competence in doing your job. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you mr. chairman. i have a poster i'd like to put up. to me it's stunning to realize the potency of fentanyl and how much, how little it takes to be lethal. you see this amount compared to a penny.
it's amazing when you look at this and realize the cause of death, how little fentanyl is required to cause a death. many of us saw earlier secretary nielsen in her testimony before the homeland security, she made several stunning comments along the way, but among those in the first four months of the fiscal year we saw approximately 60,000 migrants each month crossing illegally into our country. last month alone more than 76,000, which is a sharp increase. so we're seeing it's not just enormous numbers of people, but we've got to ask the question who are these people who are coming across the border illegally. i think it's a fair statement to acknowledge the obvious, that none of these can be referred to as law-abiding if they're coming into our country illegally to begin with. among those, of course we've
dealt with so much of the crime issues and today the drugs specifically. she mentioned in her testimony that fentanyl smuggling between the ports of entry on the southern border has more than specifically. he is mentioned that feintal smuggling has more than doubled. you mentioned it was 468%? >> yes, in fentanyl. >> just an unbelievable increase. we know we have had troubles at the ports of entry, but it is becoming a serious issue at well. the threat of illicit fentanyl is sourced. i am familiar with it coming
from china through the postal service, but where is it coming from? >> yes, sir, it is all, or almost all, upper 90% from china and it is either coming from china to the u.s., either directly or through a shipment, but the other predominant way is going into mexico and it goes into mexico as a fshled product. there is also in mexico, they have the exact number is classified so i can't give it in this setting, but i will mention as rent lie as december of 2018, they announced a raid on a production lab in mexico. and there are numerous labs in mexico that have been disrupted,
and it is coming across, as asaid, and as you can see from the photograph, it is such a small amount. >> i want to express gratitude to the atlanta and carolinas drug task force in georgia where i'm from doing a great job. it's my understanding that every cartel has presence in georgia. and regardless of how it comes across the border, they make their way up the arteries and so much of it ends up in the atlanta area and however it moves from there. generally speaking how do the drug trafficking organizations operate, mr. mcdaniel? can you explain that on the border and the interior? >> yes, sir, they insulate themselves very well to prevent,
one person, for instance, from cooperating and taking down the whole infrastructure. unfortunately they send their opera tives into the u.s. and they send replacements that are of familial decent, or in they will be trusted, but on the worst part is the operatives running the sells in that area, they have family members in mexico and they know they could be losing family members if they don't stay loil to tyal to the . >> i know they have to work unique i will be separately as well. >> we work extremely well together, but yes you're right we have more drugs being stashed once they cross the check points and then they're being loaded in
mass and going to districts like in your district. >> time has expired, mr. chairman, thank you for holding this hearing. i would like to compliment you and congressman meadows for recognizing what we should be talking about here. it is absolutely shameful that we would sit here and con flat a continuing debate about a border wall with the fact that 70,000 americans are dieing every single year in this country. and we want to turn this into a political food fight. shame on you. director carroll, let me ask you this question. what percentage of the overdose deaths in this country are due to prescription on yoit use.
>> it is about 70,000 deaths overall. >> i can tell you what the percentage is. you should know it off of the top of your head, so 40% of the deaths are attributed to persons getting transcription drugs in the united states. it's not the majority, but it is 40%. so you referenced between ports of entry and captures drugs. how are we capturing those drugs? >> primarily primarily -- >> my understanding is that the blimps we're using, the aerostats, have been respondent for some 60 tons of illegal drugs being captured. not by a wall, but by aero
state. i want to make that point. but let me go on -- >> of course that does not indicate flow, just law enforcement activity. we have asked documents, you have been slow in making them -- i want a commitment for you today that you will make those documents available in the next two weeks. just answer yes or no you have a $19 million budget for operations. >> i have no idea what the documents are. i will work with them to figure out what they are, but -- >> if we don't have them in two weeks will you let the committee know, please? >> yeah, we can work together as well. >> the president convenes a commission to look at this
issue. they completed their work over a year ago. they made 56 documents -- >> how many are? >> they are tracking those as well. i can give you an example number, some are in various stages, but as i said many of them are not under the control of the federal government or congress. >> if you would make the committee put on paper a document that goes over the recommendations, and what action, if any, you have taken on them? >> yes, man. >> and president trump's drug policy budget had each agency give agency specific targets.
we had a conversation here today about that, but they were assessing the amount of narcotics captures, and assessing the number of at the time centers providing treatments. i think that is what what mrs. mckneel was working on as well. if you already have this document from the end of the obama administration, weren't it be pretty simple to take what was developed there and augmented to some extent? we don't have to reinvent the wheel here. you have 40 seconds to answer. >> it would have been simple but it would have been wrong. what we know is that it failed under the obama administration, when every time when all you did is look at individual numbers
instead of effectiveness, what we have seen from the cdc is the death rate because of the efforts of what we're doing and it is beginning to taper and plateau. and you will see the efforts taken in the last 24 months or so are going. but these are not broad things. we took them to make sure we came up with something working with congress that will achieve the objectives you just said. days, to do what miss mcneal has asked, but is this something different now that you want -- in other words, you said you
wanted to come back in two weeks with certain information. >> actually, miss mcneal indicated that she is still lacking documents that she needs for assessments, so -- >> you're talking about the documents. something different. >> right. >> okay, go ahead. >> one important thing that gao has been seeking, as well, in addition to documents, is additional interviews. we've only been able to meet with ondcp once during this engagement. we really need to be able to interact with them, and that would be helpful, as well. >> will you commit to doing that, seeing that your people are available? >> i'm really sorry that everything was shut down for 35 days over part of this issue, but whatever's outstanding, i'll work with her. if there are interviews that she
wants, we'll take care of it. in terms of what the congresswoman was mentioning, i think she was asking, and correct me if i'm wrong, you were talking about the chris christie -- was that part of -- okay. just wanted to make sure. but on the other one, we'll find out immediately what's going on and if we have not been able to produce all of the metrics that gao is asking for in the next 60 days, we'll come up to you far in france of 60 days to tell you an exact status report of where we are. i commit to you. >> well, i can tell you, we're going to have you the week of may 6th. >> yes, sir. >> all right. tell your staff, because we will be here. and we would like to invite you.
>> thank you. it's always a pleasure. >> and the only reason i'm saying that is i want to make sure that we're not getting you to commit to something and there's confusion, that's all. >> i hope -- >> and that's in fairness to you. >> yes, sir, i appreciate that. i think we're clear, but i'll be sure to get back to your staff in there's any discrepancy. but i think i understand what we're agreeing on. >> and if you're having trouble getting your interviews, will you let us know? >> yes, sir, i surely will. and we have expertise with strategic planning, as well as collaboration, good practices. we would be more than willing to come over and walk you through any of those leading practices as you implement the strategy and develop additional strategies. >> what are you doing tomorrow? absolutely. we would love to work with gao. >> great, great. >> first of all, i would like to yield 20 seconds to congressman roy. >> thank you, sir. just a quick question to mr. mcdaniel or mr. carroll. are you aware that with air assets and how people are interdicted that the state of texas has to put in its own budget $800 million per biannum because the united states government refuses to give the air cover that is necessary for border patrol? yes or no and i'll yield back. >> i'm aware and director mccraw is very supportive of our border
interdiction efforts with texas dps. >> cbp uses -- dhs uses a variety of methods, areal and land-based. including the rat patrol that looks for tunnels. >> okay, thank you. first of all, i would like to kind of apologize a little. i know, recently, wisconsin was in the news for pulling their national guard off the arizona border and i know it's important for every state to do their share and i appreciate insofar as the wisconsin governor did not realize the importance of this type of patrol done without the wall, just identifying people, catching drugs coming across the border. now some questions for all three of you. this is a very frustrating thing. i can't believe how far this has gotten, given that everybody has gotten potentially fatal. has anybody known examples of states or metropolitan areas that are genuine successes, in
which we have less debts today, now than, say, four years ago. i mean, something that's genuinely working. >> if i can start, one of the areas that has really been hit the hardest and really started out being really tough in terms of the suffering is west virginia. and one of the best practices that i saw in west virginia is a quick response team. in the huntington area, where if someone overdoses within 24 hours, they're there with public health officials, with law enforcement finding the people who are the most vulnerable within 24 hours, to get into treatment. >> has there been a drop in the number of fatalities in the metropolitan area? >> yes, sir. >> okay. >> next question, can any of you give me examples of bad treatments? you keep throw this money at treatment. i hear good treatment and bad treatment.
does anyone want to comment on the type of things we don't want to spend money on anymore? >> what we want to spend money on is science-based treatment that we know works. such as medication-assisted treatment, m.a.t., works for certain individuals. we know that faith-based treatment centers work for that segment of the population and they're very effective. it really depends on the population. in some of our rural areas, some of the things -- and again, i appreciate the leadership of the chairman on some of the legislation that has passed. because that's enabeling telemedicine for some offing the rural communities that otherwise don't have access to it. and i know that's something that chairman cummings has talked about in the past. >> i was recently at another committee and we have these type of hearings on this topic frequently, and someone told me something i was not aware of, but i'm wondering if you can confirm it. that is, if you go through a treatment situation and you come out without any of these opioids in your system, you are worse off, because the potential that you're going to start taking something again, you know, your body has lost its immunity to
these things. you're more likely to die there than if you continue to give somebody some sort of drug when they break with the program. otherwise, you would have been better off not finishing the program. has any of you heard that or can confirm that? >> yes, sir, i have. if i may? >> sure. >> the people who suffer from the disease of addiction, when they're either released from incarceration or released from a treatment center, they are, the first, i think it might be 30 days or so, the most vulnerable to having an overdose. if you think of it, sadly, in terms of alcohol -- >> i understand that. the question is, are we right that there are programs that you would be worse completing it -- >> i'm so sorry, sir? >> is it correct that there are programs that you would be worse successfully completing it, than if you had dropped out, because you lose that immunity? that's what i was told by somebody else the other day, in a subcommittee hearing. >> i haven't heard it quite put
that way. i've heard it more that people don't -- you know, their tolerance -- >> i know, the question is, are there programs that you are worse completing it, because you get all out of your system -- >> i'm not familiar with that, but -- >> okay, we'll have to get that information for you. one more question -- >> thank you very much. >> okay. >> mr. lynch? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank all the witness for helping us out here with this tough issue. i have been on this committee long enough to remember when opioid -- the opioid crisis and fighting it was a bipartisan issue. and i'm a little bit disappointed that i share miss spears' frustration that now we're dragging in messaging issues and bringing them into this debate. my own experience here is that i have worked in a bipartisan
fashion. hal rogers, when he was chair of the prescription drug task force, and my group, i was his vice chairman. he would host events down in atlanta and various other places and we would bring plane loads of people from massachusetts to work and a lot of them democrats, to work on this problem. my governor, charlie baker, he's a republican, and i don't think there's any governor in the country that works harder on this issue than he does. and we're partners. so it does cause me some level of disappointment that it took so long to get here, mr. carroll. and that, you know, you wanted to sit at the table by yourself, things like that. your predecessor, mr. botticelli, he was banging on our doors before we could get him up here. that was his approach. and to be honest with you, there's a handful of legislators
that work on this issue 24/7. i founded an adolescent residential oxycontin rehab facility in my district. i had 14 young boys take their lives in a suicide cluster that was connected with opioid abuse and -- so through that experience, i worked with a lot of republicans around the country that were having this problem, west virginia has been hit, you know, there's no state in the country that's not dealing with this. but mr. botticelli had that gravitas. he had been through it, he was a public health official in massachusetts, department of health. he ran an hiv program, so he's dealing with public health. and, you know, now, when president trump comes in. we've got to wait two years.
we've got to wait two years for his, you know, his national drug policy strategy. two years, we hear silence, crickets, nothing. and when it comes out, it's 23 pages. obviously, he didn't have to stay up late thinking this thing up. it's fairly rudimentary and completely ignores the law. so we passed a joint bill here, a few years ago, to actually require metrics to be set up. that's what mr. mcneal has been talking about. and your strategy completely ignores that. the bill we passed, those aren't suggestions. that's the law. that's the law. so we're really disappointed with the relationship we got right now. i'm delighted that mrs. mcneil
has -- and gao has invited you over for an exercise on collaboration and training. but it's been a while. it's been a while. i'm really disappointed. and i know you were counsel over at ford motor company and i don't see -- i don't see a lot of prior experience on your part in this area. and with president trump's delay in addressing this, and then appointing someone who none of us who have been working on this issue for years, you know, i -- i filed my first bill on this to ban oxycontin in 2004. so it's been a while. and so when he appoints someone whose experience is thin, to be polite, to address a major issue, where we're losing 70,000 americans every year to this, it's disheartening. it's disheartening. it doesn't show that he has the proper sense of urgency on this problem. so, you know, i just think you've got to work harder.
you've got to try to collaborate and there shouldn't be a fight about getting you in here to talk to us. like i said, for years, forever, this was a bipartisan issue. and, you know, it's just taken a different flavor since president trump has taken office. and that is disgraceful, it's shameful. you know, we need to do better than that. so, i don't have any questions. i just have got a request. you need to work with us on this. we need to all be rolling in the same direction. people are dying out there. so let's do a better job. i yield back. >> i thank the gentlemen.
mr. higgins? >> thank you, mr. chairman. ladies and gentlemen, it's been a healthy conversation. there are some things that have touched my heart the chairman mentioned a lack of executive guidance for passion and purpose and mentioned no detailed goals. let me say that the law enforcement professionals tasked with securing our borders don't need bureaucrats or politicians, who have never worn a badge to tell them what their mission is or to define for them their passion and their purpose. their passion and their purpose is etched upon their heart, it's carved upon their soul. all they immediate is for d.c. career politicians to provide the resources and enhanced technology, physical barriers, and manpower that they have
clearly requested, properly requested. imagine that. career d.c. politicians and deep d.c. bureaucrats quite upset that the president's overall strategy to combat massive deadly drugs that flow into our country is to actually allow law enforcement professionals to develop operations, plans that are based on law enforcement reality rather than d.c. politics. my colleagues across the aisle have argued that our border security is working and most drugs are seized at legal ports of entry. that's not true. since fiscal year 2012, customs and border patrol has seized more than 11 million pounds of drugs between ports of entry, compared to only 4 million pounds at ports of entry. in fact, customs and border patrol has seized more drugs between ports of entry than at ports of entry every year since 2012.
and just to be clear, when i say between between ports of entry, i'm referring to the areas along our southern border that my colleagues across the aisle, since president trump has been elected, determined it's a partisan issue that we should not have and has physical barriers. prior to the president's elections, this was a bipartisan collusion. mr. mcdaniel, thank you for your service with the thin blue line, sir. how has responded to this onslaught of illegal drug, this incredible flow crossing our border? we have a hell of a program, share with america, how have you addressed this? >> thank you, sir. what's the question, again. excuse me? >> how has high tub responded to the incredible increase of illegal controlled dangerous substances coming through the houston command and control sector? >> we've had -- in my prior experience with dea, i had to really rethink everything because really, we're having to join hand in hand with our treatment and prevention specialists there. we're having a holistic approach there and we're still focusing on law enforcement, but we are realizing that -- >> it's not business as normal as it was, say, seven, eight years ago, is it, sir? >> no. >> and in my experience, it's the most dangerous drug we've ever seen. would a more comprehensive
border strategy that includes enhanced barriers, modern technology, 21st century technology and additional manpower, in your opinion, would that limit the dangerous drugs from being brought into our country between ports of entry? >> yes, sir, and i go back to your opening statement. anything you can do for law enforcement and you continue to do for law enforcement is greatly appreciated. do you think the expertise of law enforcement is more significant and meaningful than the expertise of bureaucrats and career politicians in d.c.? it's a dangerous place to answer that question. >> it is, it is. and i'll let you tackle those tough questions. >> we'll let america judge that. finally, regarding tunnel that has been mentioned in my remaining 40 seconds, can you just clarify that tunneling
across our border requires density of population and criminal complicity on both sides of the border, because tunneling is easily spotted from the air. you have to have a criminally complicit warehouse on the southern side of the border and a criminally complicit warehouse on the northern side of the border. and this is not even to mention the challenges of tunneling through bedrock. would you basically concur with that? >> i would concur with that, sir. >> thank you. so there are limited parts of our border where tunneling is an issue. am i correct? >> yes, sir. >> thank you, i yield, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. miss cortez? >> thank you, mr. chairman. oftentimes, it seems that consciously or unconsciously, a narrative is reinforced that the opioid crisis impacts only one
type of community. that it's limited to people of a certain income, geography, race, culture, et cetera. but the truth is is that it impacts all of us. in new york city, bronx residents die of drug overdoses at a higher rate than any other borough. and for this reason, i would like to submit to the record -- and i seek unanimous consent to submit to the record this "new york times" article that conveys the need for urgent response in urban communities. >> without objection. >> thank you so much. i'm concerned that when it comes to truly prioritizing and solving the opioid crisis, the president is saying one thing, but doing another. last month, president trump declared a, quote, national emergency concerning the southern border of the united states under the national emergencies act. and my colleagues want to talk about the southern border with relation to the opioid crisis, so let's talk about it. because even at the time he declared this emergency, he said himself, quote, i didn't need to do this. but he did.
and at the time the president declared this emergency, the white house issued a statement that, quote, he would be using his legal authority to take executive action to secure additional resources. and he's transferred millions of dollars from fema to ice. the statement said that the administration had identified funding that could be transferred from other agencies, as well. this includes up to $2.5 billion that he's transferred from the department of defense and up to $3.6 billion reallocated from military construction projects. so that's one national emergency he's identified. but, about a year and a half ago, the president issued a declaration indicating that opioids also constitute a public health emergency. director carroll, today, how much funding has the administration transferred from other agencies to address the opioid public health emergency? >> if you're referring to the opioid emergency as declared 18 months or so ago? >> mm-hmm. >> very little money was actually transferred over. i'm not sure the exact amount, but it was not very much money. >> right. we're seeing here, i mean,
there's evidence that almost no money was transferred from other agencies. so we have two national emergencies, one declared on the southern border, where the president transfers and is taking away millions of dollars from other agencies to address a wall, which doesn't even solve these issues when we're seeing that it's focused on ports of entry, but second -- >> may i address that, actually? just to make sure. >> i think that they were done with two different intents. when the opioid crisis was identified, it was to bring awareness, just like what you were talking about and what you've seen in your community and in your district, to make sure that people, parents, everyone understood the issue. >> so we've got two emergencies, one is treated with an actual action and the other is just to raise awareness. but i do think that despite the fact that i disagree with how -- i mean, disagree is a mild term -- but disagree with the president's course of action, i do think that we here in congress have responsibility, as
well. the public health emergency fund has only, at most, $57,000 in it. and it has not been really funded congressionally in a long time. so i think that that's an area where we can accept some personal responsibility. but also, it's hard to ignore the private sector's benefit from the opioid crisis. drug makers have poured close to $2.5 billion into lobbying and funding members of congress over the last decade. mr. carroll, do you believe that private sector lobbying by the pharmaceutical industry could be playing a role in the opioid crisis? >> i haven't looked into the lobbying part of this at all. you did mention the public health, and i wanted to just mention something that cdc has done that i think has been very helpful. we've been working with the cdc and dea to make sure, just like if there was an outbreak of a contagious disease, when there's an outbreak of overdoses in one cluster area, the hhs through the cdc is working on creating a hot team to deploy immediately to those areas.
and through the public health funds, that's one of the things they're doing. and so i just wanted to mention cdc -- >> sure thing. >> if there's an outbreak -- >> so one last question. specifically, perhaps miss mcneal or mr. carroll, but miss mcneal, did the declaration of a public health emergency for opioids make any additional funding available to expand treatment for individuals who had overdosed or to provide services to individuals who were in recovery? >> i would like to invite my colleague, mary dengan mccally to ask that question. >> so we did look at the public health emergency declaration that was issued in november of 2017 and subsequent to that.
you are correct that the public health emergency funds were not used and there is $57,000 currently in that. >> $57,000 that we have, as a government, to address the public health emergency in this fund? >> that is correct. there are alternative funds that can be used, but in this case, emergencies have never been used for opioids in the past. >> would you explain why that is? yes. >> i just wanted to point out, of the $34 billion that the government spends, half, more or less -- and i can tell you about the statistics, more or less half is devoted to law enforcement and the other half, $16 or $17 billion goes towards treatment and prevention. thank you. >> mr. miller. my home state is the epicenter of the opioid crisis. prescription painkillers, fentanyl and heroin flow across our porous border and have devastated my communities, my state, and our country. in january, 254 pounds of fentanyl was seized at a border crossing in the united states. this is enough fentanyl to kill
every man, woman, and child in west virginia 32 times over. we have banded together as a state to meet this crisis. we have come a long way and there is so much left to do. the opioid crisis is multifaceted. its origins go back to the 1990s. however, the breaking point in west virginia came with the war on coal and the subsequent fall of the coal industry. imagine being a coal miner in an , and one day you have no job, no money, and you and your family has nowhere to turn due to overreaching regulations from the federal government. not only did the mining jobs disappear, the businesses that supplied them and the workers were all affected. their communities were devastated. that leads to great despair and hopelessness. in 2017 alone, over 70,000 died from a drug overdose, 47,000,
which were caused by opioids and over 28,000 by fentanyl or fentanyl analogs. the same year, west virginia had the highest rate of precipitation opioid and synthetic opioid deaths and the second highest rate of heroin overdose deaths. there were 833 compared with 974 right in my state. i thank president trump for declaring an opioid crisis, that it is a public health emergency. we need as much attention as possible on this issue to get addicted americans the help they need. i believe we have good partners in the administration and congress to combat this issue. this is one of the reasons i support the border wall and border security funding. i have seen how my community has been impacted by drug trafficking. we need to stop the drug carteles at the border. i'm pleased that the hyda drug trafficking programs have been able to come into my state. hyda allows for local, state, and federal governments allow to
drug trafficking and other nefarious drug-related activities. in west virginia, we are now seeing second generation impacts of this crisis. my state has one of the highest rates of neonatal abstinence syndrome in the country, one of the many horrors of opioid addiction. neonatal abstinence syndrome is when a baby is born prenatally exposed to drugs and suffers from withdrawal symptoms. for every 1,000 births in west
virginia, about 50 babies are born dependent upon drugs. i have visited facilities where these babies are taken to withdraw from opioids. i have watched them cry inconsolably and in terrible pain. i have talked with their mothers in recovery, battling this addiction. it's heartbreaking. we were blessed to have first lady melania trump come to visit lily's place, a center in huntington where babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome come to receive care. lily's place was created by nurses in our local hospital. i'm glad that she was able to learn more about the struggling that these families are facing. there is no silver bullet to solve the opioid crisis, but there are many steps that we can take in order to coordinate with federal, state, and community partners to address it. we need to focus on the family as a whole, promoting rehabilitation, works, self-sufficiency, and community
support. and i will continue to work every day to find solutions for my constituents. director carroll, what steps has the office of national drug control policy done to address the neonatal abstinence syndrome? >> thank you for the question. as i said, west virginia really >> so places like huntington have worked hard on this issue. some of the things that the administration has done to address this issue, hhs awarded a grant to expand intellectual abilities, training, and research on nas to make sure that the science is really understood about the cause of it. they've expanded residential treatment by almost $10 million for pregnant and postpartum women, for them to be together with their children in residential care, to allow them to have that bond still there. hrsa, the health responses and services administration part of hhs, they have a maternal child health bureau, that received an additional funding, thank you to congress. thank you, ma'am, of over $3 million, to help care for infant and toddlers. >> the gentle lady's time is expired. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thanks to all of you for coming to help address this very important issue facing our country. director carroll, a year ago,
president trump signed an executive order establishing the commission on combatting drug addiction and the opioid crisis, which was charged with studying, quote, the scope and effectiveness of the federal response to drug addiction. and making recommendations for addressing the opioid crisis. the commission chaired by former new jersey governor, chris christie, released its final record on november 2017, setting forth more than 60 recommendations. director carroll, how many of the more than 60 recommendations made by the president's opioid commission have been fully implemented? >> thank you for asking the question. i believe there are right about 56 recommendations come forward from there. and those recommendations were broad-based. some of them were absolutely under the purview of the
administration. some under congress. some were not even something that we could implement from d.c. here at all. that they were state-based. since i arrived, i asked that our agency go back and do a scorekeeping, asking which agencies were in process and which ones might be stalled. and i told chairman cummings that i commit to get you all at that scorecard in terms of where they are. but that document was examined thoroughly. the commission's findings, to make sure that it was understood when we implemented the national drug control strategy on january 31st, the day i was sworn in. >> okay, thank you. and the second recommendation in the final report is, and i quote, again, the commission believes that ondcp must establish a coordinated system for tracking all federally funded initiatives through support from hhs and doj, unquote.
has this recommendation been implemented? >> yes, sir. >> okay. can you talk about how it's been implemented and what you found out? >> what we're doing is we're working closely -- the two main partners on this. and there are 15 agencies or departments that we have oversight through the drug control budget process. but obviously, hhs and department of justice are the two that we worked most closely, and various components of them. they were consulted with the national drug control strategy as well as the quantifiable metrics that we're developing now. the data supplement, as per the course with past administrations will be reduced. i believe we're on track for the next few weeks to have the data supplement go out. and then we're working with the rest of the agencies to make sure that we get the metrics, to make sure that we address that point that you just said, sir. >> okay. and i want to turn to an issue that is front and center for me and my constituents in the 48th
district of california and orange county. we've seen a significant increase, as many other districts have, as well, with drug overdose deaths and opioid-related emergency room visits. coupled with that is the increase in what we call sober home living facilities. specifically in my district, we have seen hundreds of sober homes that basically are fly by night operators that literally recruit addicts from around the country to come, they soak up the benefits that are provided under the aca, and the term used is they curb them, adding to the homeless population and additional crime in the community. i know that one of the recommendations by the christie commission recommended that the federal agencies and national alliance for recovery, residence, and drug abuse directors and housing stakeholders should work collaboratively to develop quality standards and best
practices for recovery residences, including model, state, and local policies. has this recommendation been implemented? >> yes, sir. i've met with those entities regularly and visited those facilities. and one thing i want to thank you for that in the support act, as you know, that was passed, that was also in there, that there was a requirement for hhs, to issue best practices for entities operating recovery housing facilities. and so we're working with them to make sure that that provision of the law is actually followed through, so there's a best practices. and also, we're working closely with the stakeholders that you just mentioned. and i think that they're
actually, as we talked about earlier, sometimes d.c. isn't the best way to come up with some of these standards, and some of the stakeholders are developing on their own sort of a ratings system, if you will, like the better business bureau, to actually rate some of these facilities, so that parents and other people who are helping get a family member into treatment -- >> and congresswoman chu in the 115th congress submitted bipartisan legislation to specifically address the sober home issue. have you reviewed that legislation and do you support that legislation? >> i haven't reviewed it, so i can't say whether or not i support it. >> okay. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. mr. armstrong? >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i just want to preface this, i'm not talking about trafficking or any of those issues, i hope we lock those people up and continue to do
those things, but i think there's been a huge shift nationally in how we dole with addiction-related crimes, particularly for our young cults. and i think it's a good shift, but i want to just talk about -- we have a drastic misconception. we did it in north dakota. it was called justice re-investment. i was the chair of the committee. the entire state of 750,000 people. and so trafficking often a federal crime. we can track it federally. but most addiction-related crimes -- and you are a former prosecutor, right, at the county level? >> yes, sir. >> so most addiction level crimes happen at the state or local level. so the data is only as good coming out as coming in. and what we found when we were doing this, and we've been doing it for six years in north dakota and we still continue to get it wrong. and it's not because there aren't a bunch of really smart people and everybody sitting behind you looks really smart, too. but counties have been willfully bad and different jurisdictions are terrible about how they do it. on top of that, it's a dynamic, as it's moving. i would say, unfortunately, the easiest way to track this is
deaths. and then probably the second easiest way to track it is arrests. i mean, we found 85% of anybody who was in treatment had some interaction with the court system. and the third way is recidivism, because what we're trying to do, especially with young offenders and young addicts is get rid of the recidivism rates. well, recidivism in itself has become dynamic. red states like texas and north dakota have now realized that relapse is now part of treatment. so instead of getting another charge, probation, state-run probation areas are getting better at intermediary probation measures that keep people out of prison. just yesterday, our governor signed a bill that got rid of some minimum mandatory sentencing on some drug addiction-related crimes. and i think it's a direct correlation to the first step act, right? the federal government is doing those things and now states are reacting. but for all of the work that we can continue to do here, the front lines of this is going to be your mayors, your local police departments, your local faith-based groups. the first two people i invited to every meeting was the chamber and the realtors. i don't care if it's federal government or state government, if i can't house them or employ them, there's not going to be a single program that works, that's going to continue to work through this. so we talk a lot about evidence-based treatment, evidence-based prevention. there are very few rural communities that exist in the entire country that have one crisis bed or one
addiction-related counselor. so i'm going to start with a caution and then i'm going to ask for some responses. i mean, i understand when we do federal programs and we need to do these things, we have to also remember that mott, north dakota, does no have an addiction counselor. they have a good faith-based counselor at the church. and we have to ensure that perfect doesn't become the enemy of good. because i would feature to guess that there's not a single community in the united states that has enough resources to deal with whether it's opioids or alcoholism or methamphetamine or whatever it is. but i can tell you, real america really is struggling on that. so when we develop federal programs, federal resources, i just want to make sure that those resources are getting to communities so they can combat this in the way they're able to
do it in their local communities. how we deliver it in rural, north dakota, is very different than how we deliver it in minneapolis. so i'm going to ask these two questions and then ask for comment. what are we doing about "a," the lack of counselors and people that are actually in the pipeline, which our universities right now, in order to continue to combat that because we don't have enough. we don't have enough on the ground, don't have enough in school, and they're needed all across the country. and how are you dealing with these programs to ensure they're still effective in communities that don't have the services you would qualify as best practices? >> let me try to answer as quickly as i can. >> absolutely. >> we have done a couple of initiatives. on october 30th, i was released from my office in coordination with the department of agriculture.
the federal resource guide for rural communities working with commerce, education, labor, all of the important key agencies, to make sure that we're addressing rural america. one of the things that is critical there also for rural americans is telemedicine. and the support act also carries with it the ability to do that. i've seen telemedicine work. i sat on a hospital setting, where the prescriber, dealing with someone in a rural part of the state that had no access to treatment. we're working with dea, to try to expedite mobile vans to get more of those out there. and also, as you might know, secretary perdue has been very instrumental in this and i created the -- an office within wnocp to specifically address this to focus on rural opioid coordination. we're tackling this issue head-on. >> thank you, i appreciate it. >> thank you very much. let me say this, one of the first things i did, first of all, i agree with you, mr. armstrong. faith-based services are very important. the first call i made, when i became chairman was to the ranking member. and i said, i want to come visit your district, because i
understand that you've got some great faith-based situations there. and so i agree with you. this is very important. you're right, government can't do everything. and i get that, but thank you for your comments. now, miss tillman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. carroll, for being here. i ran a large organization that was working on the issues of substance abuse and mental health and homelessness, so this is a big issue for my district, a big issue for me and i recognize the difficulty of the task that you have ahead and that you're relatively new to the position. i have a quick question.
what would, for you personally, define success when you leave? >> when i leave, the main definition of success is, there are not as many parents who have lost a child. >> okay, that's a good -- that's the right kind of definition of success. so you wrote this strategy, right, your office wrote this strategy outlining the president's priorities and setting the direction for accomplishing these priorities, correct? so assuming you and the administration actually want that to happen, do you think that it will happen if there's a 23-page document of what should happen? >> yes, ma'am. >> but how? >> first off, what i would point
to, since i've been in office in an acting capacity, up until january 31st are the accomplishments that we've already undertaken and already achieved. and with such things as what we launched last week was the opioid detection challenge to try to develop technology, with a half million dollar prize to try to find fentanyl and other opioids as they're coming through the mail. the federal resource guide for community os try to help them. but at the end of the day, what's critically important is this document, which is the same average length as the military strategy document, the national security, the cybersecurity, is that this creates a vision -- ma'am, i couldn't do -- there are 70,000 americans dying, as you know, and your district is hit hard. for me to continue to do business the way that it has been, i couldn't live with myself, because i don't think i would be serving your constituents or my own family. >> no, i don't think anyone wants you to doing business as usual. >> that's why i developed it in this way, and i look forward to working with gao as we talked about today, to make sure that we develop the metrics that chairman cummings and other members of the committee on both
sides. >> so one thing i'm hoping you can help to deliver as you're working on that. i appreciate having an overarching vision, which is more or less what i think this is. but what -- you know, how are we going to make sure that each of those strategies is actually implemented? who's accountable for that? what happens if at the end of your, you know, tenure, fewer people are not dying? you know, who is ultimately held to account? and how is each agency, how are yes ensuring that each agency that's supposed to be working on this is actually delivering? >> and i sincerely appreciate the authority that the committee gave and the reauthorization, because with the budget authority, that's how we can hold accountable the agencies and how they're spending their dollars on this issue. and that's why -- you know, as we talked about the last one, which had 13 and all, you know, the 11, 12 failed on this, and so, we can't do business like that. and that's why i hope and pray, i know you do, too, that the agencies are able to use this wisely, that we can work with
gao to evolve appropriate metrics in addition for the chairman and the ranking member and for you. >> so an example is implementing a nationwide media campaign. you talk about how, you know, the rx awareness has started and i think that that's great. so, will we be able to find out how much money there is that's spent on it? how it's been divided, who the media partners are? actual details of how this is going to be effective? >> yes, ma'am. i'm particularly proud of the media campaign. with less than $400,000, i think it was $384,000 specifically, we were able to turn that into $20 million worth of advertising, with donated space working with youtube, google, facebook, so many other companies. and what that has resulted in is a billion impressions -- >> see, this is great data. this is what i want. this is the kind of information that i want to see, how can we get that? and what kind of a -- what kind of a, you know, something heavier -- this is what we've seen in the past. and you know, i'm not somebody who wants to look through 150 or however many pages, necessary. but when we want to get into a specific strategy, how are we able to do that? >> that's what's going to be coming out.
but on that media campaign, we now have 58% of young adults in the target audience who have awareness of this. and so i appreciate the little bit of money that congress appropriated for this. we've used it wisely. >> in the short period of time that i have left, one thing that's missing from the strategy and hopefully this is coming, too, we have a -- we need to expand availability of treatment, enhance the quality of it. you know the largest financer of behavioral health services is medicaid, correct? >> right. >> so the aca expanded access to medication, including 18% for sud. do you believe that expanding medicaid into additional states under the aca would result in more states having more resources to deal with substance abuse? >> i think that hhs would need to look into how the impact of the aca acts, but in terms of the treatment and what we're seeing is, and i would love to get your help on this, there's an awareness gap in terms of the estimated 20 million people who
need treatment and only 10% even try. so trying to get them into treatment, the support act makes treatment more available, there's more money going to states. but if i could get help to close that gap to get more people into treatment, i would love it. >> thank you. >> just out of curiosity, with regard to medicaid, when -- with regard to the affordable care act, we have a lot of states that did not accept medicaid, under the affordable care act. one of the -- a lot of people to get treatment get it through medicaid. that do -- have you had any input with regard to your strategy on that and working with the administration. in some of these states that are not. >> one thing that's critical with the medicaid is expanding the 1115 waiver and that's something that i know your staff
has talked to our staff about. i'm really happy to see that lifted, so we can get more people into treatment and get medicaid reimbursement back to them. also, in terms of treatment for people who are incarcerated and being able to get treatment for those people, hopefully there's fewer and fewer of those. we did a $4 million grant last fall for diversion courts. hopefully those people who just have an addiction stay out. but for those who are in, to try to get them treatment as well would be something i would like to explore. >> okay. mr. jordan? >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. mcdaniels, democrats said there's no crises, no emergency on the southern border. in your judgment, in your 20-some years of experience, is there an illegal drug crisis, illegal drug emergency on our southern border? >> yes, sir, there is. >> there is? >> yes, sir. is there a gang and cartel crisis and emergency on our southern border? >> yes, sir. >> and is there also a human
trafficking crisis emergency situation on our southern border? >> yes, there is. >> so there is? all three? >> yes, sir. >> we've got a drug emergency, human trafficking emergency, we have a gang and cartel emergency on our southern border. mr. carroll, is there a drug crisis emergency on our southern border? >> yes, sir. there's a drug crisis in our country. and all of the drugs that are here are coming into our country -- the fatal drugs are coming from overseas. mexico, china. >> is there also a gang and drug cartel problem on our southern border? >> absolutely. there's no question. >> and associated with this cartel activity, is there a human trafficking issue on our southern border? would you call that an emergency or crisis, as well? >> they're absolutely related, because these traffickers who are just completely morally depraved will trade in everything, they'll trade in drugs in weapons, in children, in human lives. >> so we have two experts here today, mr. chairman, on our panel, two experts with
experience in this area, one 20-some years in law enforcement, who says there's a drug trafficking emergency, a human trafficking emergency, a gang and cartel violence emergency on our district -- or on our southern border. one of the earlier members, i believe it was miss wasserman schultz, said 90% of drugs captured are captured at points of entry. and mr. higgins disagreed with that, but let's assume for a second that miss wasserman schultz is right. does it surprise you that drugs are captured where there's actually law enforcement personnel? >> no, sir. no surprise at all. >> that's common sense. wow, we are actually capturing drugs where there are law enforcement personnel at the ports of entry. but we're also capturing some where there aren't ports of entry. and my guess is, call me just
some common sense guy from western ohio, my guess is a lot of drugs are moving across the border where there aren't any good guys to stop them, right? >> that's correct. >> yeah. and hence the reason we need a barrier -- hence the reason we situation, to deal with this crisis that's all over our country as the director points out. would you agree with that, mr. mcdaniel? >> i would agree with that. >> that's just good common sense. so this argument that, oh, most of the drugs seized are at ports of entry. well, for goodness sakes, that's where we have law enforcement right there. of course that's going to happen. but there is all kinds of bad stuff coming across where there aren't the good guys to stop the bad stuff. mr. mcdaniel, would you agree with all of that? >> yes, sir. >> now, to the point mr. higgins made, how much is actually seized, though, where there aren't ports of entry? we're still catching some of it, right? we're still getting some of it. >> yes, sir. >> is it more or less than what we're getting at the ports of entry? >> more, between --
>> so between ports of entry, democrats say, oh, we're only getting at the ports of entry. well, of course we are, because we have law enforcement there. but between the ports of entry, where they can cross and there aren't law enforcement personnel right there, we're still capturing some there at some points, right? >> yes, sir. >> is it more or less than what we're getting at the points of entry? >> there's no way to tell. the big unknown is, what are we missing? and obviously, we're missing a lot. >> of course. of course. mr. carroll, do you have anything to add to that? >> yes, sir, i completely agree with mr. mcdaniel. if you just go by weight and i can break it down by drug, if you like. but the numbers i have from custom and border protection for 2018 reflects the total weight of drugs at ports of entry was 242,000 pounds of various drugs. between ports of entry for the same time frame, fiscal year 2018, 476,000. >> there's actually more, even. >> in terms of total weight. i can break it down by drug, if you want. >> here's my big question i want to ask for the other side.
it's just a few weeks ago that enough fentanyl was captured to kill 57 million americans. you familiar with this story, when this happened? just a few weeks back, right? >> sir. >> so if that's not an emergency, somebody tell me what is. enough fentanyl to kill 58 million? 59 million? i mean, how bad does it have to get before we actually say, this is an emergency? for goodness sakes, we have the two experts who say it's an emergency on human trafficking and of course the gang and cartel violence. it's an emergency? and there's no way around it. let's do everything we can to deal with the problem. again, i want to thank you all for being here and for your fine testimony today. i yield back. >> thank you very much. >> mr. clay? >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me thank the panel for participating today. good to see you again, director carroll. >> sir.
let me ask you, on january the 30th, 2018, the dhs inspector general issued its drug control performance summary report, for the coast guard. the report indicates that more than 2,700 metric tons of cocaine flowed toward the u.s. in fiscal year 2017. in that year, the coast guard removed 223 metric tons of cocaine through its interdiction efforts. and this was a new record. however, even with that extraordinary achievement, the coast guard failed to achieve its removal target of 11.5%. then in fiscal year 2018, the coast guard's removal rate targeted meaning the amount of cocaine the service was working to interdict or destroy was lowered to 10%. the question is, why was the
coast guard's drug removal rate target lower and how was 10% chosen as the new target? >> thank you, congressman, for the question. i started last year in february, so i'm not familiar with exactly why that percentage was altered. but if i could talk about, for a second, this is where it sort of gets into the national drug control strategy and why it was developed in such a way it is. i think it's a little bit -- it can be misleading if all we do is focus in on weight. i have to say that the u.s. coast guard are incredibly brave men and women out there, who are working so hard. it's amazing. and the last three years that the coast guard removed 1.4 million pounds of uncut cocaine and brought almost 1800 people to justice from their operations.
the coast guard is a fine example. but, let's say that -- so over the last three years, they removed 1.4 million pounds, and over the next three years, let's say they remove a million pounds. that doesn't mean it's a failing grade. it could mean that our efforts with president duke in colombia, the areal efforts have restarted. and that they're moving towards illicit crops. so i think that's why we have to measure effectiveness, not just pure numbers. >> director, i've visited colombia and visited our troops who are embedded with the colombian military. >> yes, sir. >> to try to change from one crop to another. and to also engage in the interdiction efforts, also. and they are making good progress. but let me tell you what, in an interview published in 2017,
admiral paul zukompf who was then the commander of the coast guard said, because of resource limitations, the coast guard cannot catch all of the drug smuggling we know about. he stated that in the previous year. the intelligence had him on nearly 500 possible shipments that they couldn't go intercept them, because we didn't have the ships or planes to go after them. so we had actual intelligence on drug shipments, but we didn't have the resources to stop them. director carroll, do you know how many known or suspected drug shipments mug toward the u.s. at sea? we failed to stop today, because the coast guard does not have the resources such as ships and air support. >> i don't know.
>> i don't know that i have the exact numbers at my fingertips and if i did i would want to say specifically to our drug traffickers the chances of success in getting through, but to your point which i think is if the coast guard had more assets they would be able to stop more drugs at sea, the coast guard, i know we've been working with several members of the committee, i believe, to talk about making sure they have a force readiness and having restoring that to a capability where they could. i meet routinely and my next conversation with the commandant for the coast guard is this afternoon, hopefully leaving soon, when i went down to colombia i had him go with me to meet the new president. when we first formed the new in 17 years in alaska, i had the commandant go with me. so you know, we're also seeing drugs coming from alaska by ship that coast guard is working so hard on as well. >> thank you. i yield back.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for everything coming here today. one of the challenges of being a freshman congressman in the minority with the last name "s" i get to be the last person that ask questions. i kind of want to talk about you testified and i thought it was elicited 8100 pounds of cocaine between the ports of entry that have been interdicted, 124,000 pounds of marijuana, 112 pounds of fentanyl between the ports of entry, do you have any estimates as to what's coming through between the ports of entry that we're not interdicting? can you give system on what we're not capturing that is coming across the border? >> i would hazard to guess
because you don't know what you don't know, but i think one thing that you could do, and i think we should probably sit down with a statistician, how i look at it from a simplistic view, let's just take cocaine, one of the better examples we know and since we were just talking about the coast guard, we know colombia is capable of producing over 900 tons of cocaine annually. we're working hard with president duque to eliminate that. we know the coast guard is seizing hundreds of tons every year with that and then at the border, there are tons being seized as well. customs and border patrol seized 800 or 900 pounds a few months ago, maybe two months ago at the most, between the port of entry on a utv, alter rain vehicle, john deere type vehicle, and that was cocaine. we can estimate the number of tons of cocaine that are caught. we know 921 are capable of being produced. not all is destined for the u.s., but for example, we have to be in hundreds of tons of cocaine that's not being caught
just by that very example right there. >> that's just cocaine. that's not -- fentanyl is a complete unknown. we have 150,000 at least chemical labs in china and those drugs, as we know, are going to either coming through the mail, being trans shipped or across the border from mexico. we have no denominator for that. we have a ballpark denominator for cocaine and plant-based heroin but the synthetics is a complete unknown it. >> was your testimony here today that building the wall in the places between the ports of entry where we don't have anything to prevent people from coming in with all of these drugs is something you recommend? >> we have to do everything we can to save american lives. we have to build a wall, we have to have more law enforcement officers, not only on the border, you know, under dhs, we need nor, you know, ships with the coast guard and need more of the thin blue line here in the united states, and we need to
decrease demand in the u.s. through prevention efforts and treatment efforts. sir, we have to -- this truly is a crisis. we're 70,000 people dying. my bottom line is, we're going to save lives doing whatever we need to do. >> by building that wall that would prevent just the 112 pounds of fentanyl, we saw the display earlier of the salts, grams or small amounts of that, that can kill hundreds of people, thousands of people, millions of americans, it would save lives if we were able to do that? >> if that fentanyl doesn't come into the u.s. we're saving a life. >> thank you for your time today. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you very much. i thank the panel. very important work that you're doing. director carroll, i wanted to ask you a few questions about naloxone. >> yes, sir. >> the christy commission on opioids described it as the first line of defense on the opioid epidemic.
all law enforcement officers across the country be equipped with it. >> yes, sir. >> does the national drug control strategy set forth steps to ensure all law enforcement officers across the country will be equipped with it? >> that's one of the things that's critical to make sure the officers have it. we set forth this through a number of grants that have already come out to state treatment -- excuse me state response funds to make sure that states have the discretion about the best way to give it to the law enforcement or the first responders. >> right now, there are really widely varying access to it, right. >> on monday of this week, 100 local behavioral specialists in the field -- that was one of the questions i asked them, i want to know the answer if something is failing i want to know, i asked them, does anyone have a hard time getting naloxone, the
answer was no, they all have the ability it to get it. >> actually, i'm surprised at that time. >> me too. >> that's not what i hear, that the -- that the affordability is a real challenge for communities in vermont and just talking to some of my colleagues i hear republican and democrat that affordability is a real issue. >> and i was surprised too. i don't want to -- >> let me go on -- >> can i talk about pricing because you mentioned i. in the last two years the prices have remained stable and that's something we can keep pushing and i appreciate congress' help on that. >> dealing with the price is what i want to get to. it can't be accessible if it's not affordable and taxpayers are burdened and our police forces are overstretched. it's amazing what our first responders do. they show up and they have to administer naloxone to save a life and may have to come back
two weeks later and it's the same person. >> some the same day. >> i'm amazed of our law enforcement community is -- >> their fatigue is something we worry about. >> it's a generic drug. the nasal spray version developed using taxpayer funding cost $150 for a two pack. that's a lot of money in our small vermont communities. a two pack for the auto injector version is $4500. so my view, that's pretty expensive. my question is, does the administration plan to carry out the christy commission's recommendation that government negotiate for lower prices for naloxone? >> it's a covered benefit tore all medicaid patients and we're working to make sure all insurance plans cover naloxone. >> i'm talking about negotiating a lower price? i get it that it's a covered benefit, which is good. somebody pays that cost. it's the employer, the sponsor, the health care plan, the taxpayer who provides the benefit through medicaid or
medicare or sometimes self-pay. getting the christy commission recommendation of price negotiation, i think is an excellent recommendation and i'm wondering where you are on that? >> i couldn't agree more. i know in the time frame like 2012 to 2016, naloxone prices sky rocketed. my office -- >> can we get some support to implement the christy commission recommendation of price negotiation? >> yes, sir. i was going to say was, my office back then, this is even prior to president trump, under president obama, ondcp had some sort of -- i wasn't there, obviously, but had a listening session, round table, maybe the chairman is aware, in which they were forceful in terms of bringing down that price. >> let's stay on that. >> absolutely. >> bring the price down. okay. i would like to get governor christy --
>> i have mine with me. >> well, i hope you don't have to use it. >> i will say also, that i believe in it to the point i was the first and might be the only one to require my employees to be trained on naloxone. >> that's fantastic. rescued breathing, strategy points out that simple breathing can keep a person alive until help arrives. does rescue breathing reverse an overdose? >> it keeps them alive until a first responder can get there with narcan. >> it's not an effective replacement for narcan? >> it keeps them alive until narcan gets there or naloxone, the drug gets there. >> thank you very much. >> i yield back. >> thank you very much. i yield myself some time. i have sat here and listened to all of this and first of all, i want to say thank you to all of you. so often, mr. mcdaniel, when the
minority has a witness, there's a lot of disagreement. i agree with you. i love -- it's one of the best things that ever happened with regard to dealing with this problem. one of the reasons why that is, is because they take the resources of different agencies and bring them together. they then communicate, so they're not all silos. again, everything i do, everything, walk into that door, i want to be effective and efficient. it is an effective and efficient way trying to deal with this problem. i thank you. you won't get an argument from me on that one.
director carroll, first of all, let me express my concern and my sadness with regard to your relative that you talked about. i watched you very carefully and as you were speaking i could tell that it was very emotional for you. as a trial lawyer, i watched witnesses carefully and, you know, director carroll, they say that we have one of the best staffs on capitol hill. you know what it is, first of all, there's nobody that comes
to my office, even an intern, that i don't interview. and i look for two things. they got to have these two things. they -- first of all, they usually don't get to the interview unless they got them. one, they got to be smart. and two, they got to have compassion for the issues that we deal with. there's a reason for that. because i could have a smart person but to compassion, so that means that they're not going to necessarily do things that need to be done. they're smart. when they have compassion and not be smart, and so that's a problem. i think you have both.
you thought i was going to say something else? i saw you drop your head. don't forget what i said. i'm watching you. i think you have both. i think you have compassion, and i think you are a smart man. so what we have to do is take your smartness and your compassion and direct it so that we can do what, be most effective and efficient. this is your watch. you've come upon the scene.
you did not -- i tell my staff that a lot of times the crisis, you don't go to the crisis. the crisis comes to you. so you're here for a reason and a season. and i'm praying and i know mr. welch and all of us on both sides, we pray that you will be successful. i want you to understand something. >> i'll pray for you too, sir. >> i'm sorry. >> pray hard, man. but we -- that's important to us. one of the things that i also tell my staff, is that i want government to work for people. it's important to me, i mean, almost everybody -- i don't know if you noticed, almost everybody on both sides of the aisle talk about what an urgent problem this is. i never forget, mr. carroll,
give you a little bit of my history, joe scarborough, "morning joe," he and i were on this committee and we were over on the drug committee. that's how we became such good friends. we did a lot of good things together. he was a conservative republican and i was a guy from baltimore. liberal. i'll take it. and -- but we were able to do things together. it was so refreshing. in that spirit, now we move forward, right. now i know some of the questions, i told you some of the questions would be difficult. i'm going to just ask you some general things that i'm concerned about and to you, miss mcneil, your testimony was excellent but i want to make
sure we're all coming together, because, again, one thing that i noticed about life is people have a tendency to go in circles. they go in circles. they're looking for an exit to get to where they got to go. sometimes they're distracted. sometimes they just lose sight. sometimes they just can't find the exit to get there. we have now -- help me with this, miss mcneil, we have given the ondcp, we've basically given you the exit sign, you how, how to get to where you got to go. you told me what you're trying do, i believe you. we've given you the exit. as a matter of fact, the exit sign, there's miss mcneil standing up there with a big sign saying, follow the law. and then, not only does she say, follow the law, she tells you
what the law is. she says something else, i will help you. she says something else. give me something to work with. let me interview your people. right? okay. you're with me. >> yes, sir. >> i want to make sure you're following me. >> yes, sir. >> so here we are. so under the law, let me just -- under the law in place in 2017/2018, i'm going to ask you
about the -- as well as last year's reauthorization, the ondcp director is required to, quote, consult with the heads of the national drug control program agencies in developing the drug control strategy. that coordination is part of your job, is that right? >> it's part of the job of ondcp director, yes. >> is that right, miss mcneil? >> yes, sir. >> and i guess the thing that's bothering me is, we keep talking about whether you're going to do certain things, and whether there's a debate, some kind of debate, with regard to what you're going to do, but it's the law. hold up. it's already done. got a big sign. you got a whole -- one of the
best departments in the country in miss mcneill's agency, they are credible big time, and they want to help. and they're saying follow the law. let me ask you this, does the 23 phase strategy comply with the law? do you think so? i mean your honest opinion? >> yes, sir. >> based upon what miss mcneil said. >> yes, sir. based upon and giving you my honest under oath. >> go ahead. >> it absolutely complies with the law. we did all the consultations leading up to this relying on the draft, national drug control strategy, that was in place and process when i got there, looking at all of the other reports such as the chris christie report we talked about earlier, using all of those documents that were there, and then spending a year during this, chairman cummings at the very beginning of this three
hours ago, i wrote it down -- >> by the way this is a short hearing here. >> well a short time ago, three hours ago, you said that you were a deliberate and careful person. >> that's right. >> so am i. and so this strategy was written in a very deliberate and careful way. it was meant to comply with the law, but more importantly or just as importantly, in my mind, more importantly, designed to save lives. we're following the law and as i said going through the interagency process to develop the metrics. i hope you heard me a few minutes ago when miss mcneil said they have experts to help with the metrics and i asked her to tomorrow, first i've heard she's asked to meet with me, i don't know if you've asked to interview me. >> not you, your staff. >> anyone she wants to meet with that's appropriate we'll make it instantly available. we want to partner with her and her agency and --
>> can i tell you something? >> yes, sir. >> if my staff, if i came into a meeting and my staff didn't tell me that, what -- i'm coming here, somebody wouldn't have a job. i'm just letting you know. >> well we've been meeting with them every week. >> whoa, whoa. i'm not trying to get anybody in trouble. you feel the same way. i tell my staff, you are not paid to embarrass me. and what i'm saying to you is that you -- we've come in here and you're telling me the very person that you're sitting across the table with, the very person who will -- who have concerns, the very person who we would consult to make sure, you didn't even know she's -- >> she's never reached out to me. she said she never tried to talk to me. i was the one that said, let's meet tomorrow. >> did you hear what i said? >> yes, i did. >> staff. all right. staff.
okay. don't -- hey, i'm not trying to beat you up. i'm just being honest with you. i'm trying to be effective and efficient. we got people dying. that's all. now, miss mcneil, he said that he's complied. do you agree with that? >> to. we do not agree that they -- that ondcp's strategy is in compliance with the 2006 statute. we do not agree. >> and you said earlier, i think you were trying to find your notes, did you cover everything you said that was lacking? >> i did, yes. >> i know you're getting tired of this, but i want to make sure you're on the same page. another thing i tell my staff, when they -- when i hire
somebody, i say to them, i said, i want to know what you expect, but i want you to know what i expect. it's got to be a two-way street. i want -- she needs certain things, you want to help, i just want to bring you together. like a marriage. seriously. so that we can get some things done. now, miss mcneil, in the past administrations, did ondcp rely on the data supplements to comply with the legal requirements applied to the strategy? >> i don't have the answer to that question. we can find that answer and get back to you on that one. >> all right. how soon can i get that? >> very soon. within the week. >> thank you very much. number three, who wrote this?
i mean, this -- the 23 pager, was this by ondcp in its entirety or did you have other people inputting? >> it was written by staff at ondcp. we did bring if one contractor with an expertise in drafting strategies to make sure, but it was written -- it was not a political individual. it was districtly a one contractor to help bringing everything together to make it one document. >> can you tell us who that contractor is? >> i'm sorry, sir? >> who was the contractor? >> on loan from another government agency. i would rather not say his name publicly. >> you can let my staff know. >> yes, sir. >> he came over from dia, defense intelligence agency. i'm not sure which one, but it was one of the -- i think one of the national universities or
dia, but then we had all of the career professionals at ondcp actually do the drafting. no -- i mean i -- political, i think if i'm answering your question, maybe that you're not asking, political appointees wrote it, that's not the case. >> i wasn't asking you that. you answered me. >> thank you. >> they did the research, this organization, this consultant? >> i'm sorry, sir. could you repeat the question? >> i asked you who prepared the 23-be page strategy. >> ondcp career staff. >> what role did the contractor play? let me tell you why i'm asking you this. >> sure. >> i mean, you've given us a document that miss mcneil has said is inadequate.
so, you know, we're paying this person, these people, we are paying as taxpayers paying them, and i want to know, you know, what's the disconnect? i got to make sure you all are connected? >> i don't think there is a disconnect. i was not with 70,000 people dying i was not going to do business at normal. i had ondcp career staff write this report. >> what role did the contractor play? >> he helped assemble and make it -- he's an instructor at one of the national universities and a good writer. he didn't come up with the vision. it was my vision, our vision at ondcp. we're placing more emphasis on this individual from dia than i think is appropriate but i'm happy to let you speak to him. >> all right. i don't know if you know this, but one of pie so-called expertise in the congress is maritime. i used to be the chairman of the coast guard subcommittee, so i'm very, very familiar with the coast guard.
it is a phenomenal organization. >> couldn't agree more. >> by the way, i want to make sure our ondcp people understand that i know that they're doing a great job. i know that. >> thank you, sir. >> i know that. >> i think they are. >> i got that. but it's like again, i hate to keep talking about the way i run my office, but if i have, in my office, if i see somebody to the doing something the way it's supposed to be done, i don't look at them. i look at me. you know what the first question i ask, did i properly train them. did i properly give them my expectations. because i think it's unfair to them if i'm expecting something and they don't know it, what they don't know how to do what i'm expecting.
i'm just trying to get to the bottom line. now going to the coast guard, the coast guard is a drug control program agency and it is the lead federal agency for drug interdiction at sea. >> yes, sir. >> but the coast guard said that you did not consult with them about the drug control strategy. >> who said that, sir? >> i'm going to -- let me fish. >> thank you. >> committee staff asked the coast guard, they responded and i quote, this is their quote, and we'll get the name of the person. >> i would like to know the name of the person. >> okay. we'll get that. i promise you, we'll get it. we'll have it for you. let me read what they said. >> please. >> they said, the coast guard did to the have any specific involvement in the drafting and review of the national drug control strategy.
end of quote. and just to be clear, ondcp was required under the statute to consult with with the heads of drug control program agencies. and you just said the coast guard would be one of those agencies. why, if this is accurate, why didn't the coast guard, which is also served as the chair of the interdiction committee, as you well know, have any role in drafting and reviewing the national drug control strategy? >> i can promise you that's inaccurate. that might have come from a coast guard affairs office here, but i don't work with them. i work with the commandant of the coast guard. they absolutely had input into this and they were the ones that provided in put on this. that could not be more wrong an i'm sure, as you said in terms of staff, i'm sure the commandant would be interested to hear that considering he and i have such a great relationship and we talk every day. i can promise you this -- no one who had anything to do -- i
don't know what individual at what level that was, but i suggest you direct that question to the commandant of the coast guard and he'll tell you about the relationship. >> i know him well. i will do just that. >> thank you. >> let me ask you this, you said to miss mcneil -- again, miss mcneil, i want to be clear, i don't want you to be sitting there waiting and not getting what you need. >> thank you. i appreciate that. >> you said miss mcneil could interview people at, quote, as appropriate. who would be an appropriate -- the appropriate person for gao to interview? >> i'm turning to her, who she would like to interview and i'll make them available. >> she can -- she's told you the kind the information she needs.
you would know in your agency who handles that information, right? >> yes, sir. a bunch of my staff have been interacting with them. >> would you give her a list? >> a list of what? >> i don't know who she wants to interview. if she would tell me who she wants i will make them available. 80 employees. >> let me put it like this. you know, this ain't deep, man. all i'm saying is, she can tell you the kind of information she needs. you will have that. >> great. >> then, i want you to look at that and say, these are the people and you got a brilliant young lady sitting behind you, because we've worked with her quite a bit, i forget your name, i'm sorry. >> it's kayla sitting behind. >> she's absolutely brilliant.
>> she is. >> a phenomenal. >> seriously. the word on the street is that she is the guru. but so -- >> did she pay you to say that? >> no, no, no, no. that's a fact. >> i believe you. i agree. >> you know, i -- i mean, remember what i told you. >> yes, sir. >> people who are smart, she's got it, and compassionate for the issues. so just figure out. >> absolutely. >> who she -- she'll tell you what she needs and you'll talk to your staff and say -- >> put them together. >> y'all got that information, this is who we're going to make available to miss mcneil. >> yes, sir. >> i'm almost finished. let's talk about naloxone for a minute. >> sure. you know one of the reasons that i think -- i was surprised too, but they've been rationing the drug your know that? they ration it.
in baltimore, it's so expensive, and we have one of the most progressive or had, she's now the head of planned parenthood, dr. wynn, she is one of the most progressive and i mean assertive people with regard to naloxone and drug addiction, okay, and she wanted to give out a lot to all our first responders and everything. she couldn't do it. she had to ration it. why? we couldn't afford it. we couldn't afford, you know, because it's gone up so much. i don't know whether you -- a number of us two or three years ago wrote the attorney generals in the united states and said please, try to negotiate and bring this price down because it does save lives. i've literally seen people's life saved. my wife and i were leaving a dinner about a year ago and somebody just dumped somebody right if front of the hotel we
were coming out of. apparently these kids were at a party. >> right. >> threw him, just dumped him out of the car. and then i asked the doorman, does this happen all the time? he says it happens all the time. and then they came along and they, you know, did the injection, person came to life. so, it is a miracle drug. no doubt about it. can you -- can you think of anything, mr. carroll, this is not a got you question, but i want to know, i think that you could be the great spokesperson that comes out there and says, you know, i'm the drug czar, i
know you don't like that word, but drug czar, and i've been appointed to do this job, please, manufacturers, bring your prices down and save some lives. you know you just said you travel all around the country and you see the damage. you would be the greatest spokesperson. you realize, if you went on television and did that, you may not think you may make a difference, but one thing is for sure, it will stop it from going up. i know it's been leveling off. you don't have to tell me, i got that, the price that is, but those are the kind of things that mean something. you follow me? can you think of anything else you might be able to do? >> i participated -- yeah. in pennsylvania, i'll work with pennsylvania, they were able to have a naloxone giveaway day and i called in to one of the media stations that were advertising this for residents of the state, i'll find out from them how they were able to afford to get so
much medication where people could just come -- naloxone where they could come in and give them training and give it to them for free. i'll find out how they did that. working with the pharmaceutical companies this really is a bipartisan issue. >> right. >> what -- maybe i can get help from you and the ranking member, we could meet with them together and talk to them and saying, what can we do to make sure this is -- i'm getting to more people, more first responders, and i'll do training, i will get them to do training up here and if your lawyers will let us, we'll try to give you naloxone so you can have it in your pocket as well. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. >> now, i just said, you might want to work with azar. hhs. >> i talk to him all the time. >> yeah. i mean that's the perfect person.
he seems to be a good guy who would be sensitive to these kind of things. >> i think he's a compassionate fellow is well. i'm about to wrap up. you threw me off for a minute there. >> sorry. >> that's okay. you said something about -- >> threw me off a couple times too. >> i'm sure i did. >> you said something about when the health care emergency was established, it was to -- and maybe, it had to be you, it was to, quote, bring awareness. what does that mean? >> i mean i wasn't in ondcp at the time. what i'm saying the -- >> what did you mean? >> yes, sir. what i meant, what i think is one of the greatest benefits of when the president declared the opioid crisis was to bring awareness to this issue. so many people didn't know about it. so many people didn't know what other families were going through. so i think that was one of the greatest benefits is to really bring awareness.
there are other, as we talked about, with one of the members of the committee that -- there wasn't really -- and i know miss mcneil talked about it, there wasn't that much money associated with the declaration of it. the greatest benefit was making sure that our americans understood what we're facing. that's what i was trying to say, sir. >> you're fine. all right. i want to, again, thank all of you. i'm looking with great excitement to seeing you again. week of may 6th. >> yes, sir. i'll see you before then. >> you want to see me again? >> yes, sir. i'll meet you in baltimore. >> all righty. miss mcneil, thank you. i want to thank all the staff for what you have done.
thank you, mr. mcdaniel. i hope you understand what i'm trying to do. life is short. life is short. and i want you to understand the reason why i have so much urgency, i spent six months in the hospital over the last year. >> sorry. >> over a year ago now, but you know, when you get to do that, you think about your life, but you also think about your death. i thought about all of the people that i've known who have died of drug overdoses. the first person that i know of that died of a drug overdose i was 8 years old. i'm 68. i didn't even understand what an overdose was.
but i know that this was a guy in our neighborhood we looked up to. a little kid, a guy died. what do you mean died? drug overdose. only thing i knew about drugs was kastrol oil, medicine, prescription drug. the guy i looked up to was dead. that's why i could empathize with what you said, because if you went into my block in baltimore i guarantee you, there's not one family out of about 30, maybe 40 family, who have not been severely touched by drugs. it has no boundaries. when joe scarborough and i were with working on these different issues, i will never forget, i went to ohio, and a congressman
invited me up there and we went to a drug meeting and -- where, you know, parents were getting together and talking and sheriff's and all that and if i had closed my -- this is a rural, white neighborhood, i mean rural, if i had closed my eyes, i would have swore i was in the inner city of baltimore. they talked about the same things. they talked about how drugs were taking over their town and how it destroyed the fabric and the people and their families. they talked about how people didn't even know their relatives anymore because as you know, drug -- people on drugs, lie, steal, cheat, whatever they got to do, trying to, you know, deal with their pain.
my point is, that we have now moved -- and people i think kind of used to paint the drug problem as a black thing. it's not a black thing. you know that. that's another thing i want to get out to the world. finally, thank god, we are dealing with it not as a black, white thing, not as a rural/city thing, none of that, we're dealing with it as a human problem. a human ailment. you know what, you are so blessed, you are so blessed, for a man of your stature, believing what you believe, having the compassion and having gone through what you have been through, and you know what, i -- again, you know, it's not -- you know, i know it's painful dealing with -- i don't know whether it's a relative? relative, friend? >> yes, sir. >> i'll say friend. >> relative.
>> it's painful. but you know what, it prepares you for this. >> absolutely. >> another thing i tell my staff, everything that happens to you up until this moment, good, bad and ugly, prepares you for this moment. that's part of your training to have that compassion, to be the best that you can be, to take your smarts and apply them to situations where you help somebody avoid tragedy. >> thank you. >> so i thank you so much. i'm sorry we had to go through what we went through, but you got to answer me one more question. one of the -- in fairness to you, this is in fairness to you, one of the times we had to postpone the hearing is because you had to go to china. >> yes, sir. and that was -- >> i'm going to let you talk.
>> that was canceled because the colombian president came to town i had to meet with the colombian president instead of the i could niece president. >> i had to meet with the colombian president instead of the chinese president. >> you didn't go to china? >> no. i meant with the colombian president. >> fine, fine. what i was going to -- >> i just want to be candid and tell you what happened. >> still, this is the last question. >> yes, sir. >> i thought you had gone to china. when i heard you say where fentanyl was coming from. >> yes, sir. >> what can we do to try to effect that? are you talking to the president where we know it's coming from? what can we do? >> we've take an good first step. the -- at the g-20 in south america the two presidents got together. this is why it's so important
for us to go and we've been working with all of our law enforcement partners and i'll share the strategy with you off camera of how we're doing it, but to go to them repeatedly and say, where are you in terms of scheduling it? what's the time line for doing this? of course any time when dealing with a foreign entity like this, you want to make sure not only do they pass the legislation which shouldn't be terribly hard in china, to pass legislation, but make sure they start enforcing it. the other concern of course as part of the emerging threats if we squeeze on china to make sure the fentanyl production doesn't go to other places. let's talk about that off camera. >> i promise you we will. thank you all very much.
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