June 16, 2022

Whitehouse, Grassley & Colleagues Mark International Day against Drug Abuse & Trafficking with Bipartisan Resolution

Senators urge action to bolster domestic fight against addiction crisis, thwart international dark economies

Washington, DC – This week, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), co-Chairs of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, led a bipartisan group of their colleagues, including all Caucus members, in introducing a resolution recognizing June 26, 2022 as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.  This day has been observed by the United Nations since 1987 to raise awareness about the dangers of the illicit narcotics trade and the dark economy supporting it.  The resolution calls attention to the drug use epidemic ravaging communities across the U.S., the danger the drug trade poses to the rule of law, and the need for greater access to prevention, treatment, and recovery programs, among other issues.  Representatives Kathleen Rice (D-NY) and John Katko (R-NY) led a bipartisan companion resolution in the House.

“We must shine light on the dark forces driving our addiction and overdose crisis, and recommit ourselves to supporting those fighting their own personal battle against substance use,” said Whitehouse.  “This measure recognizes that we must care for those in our own communities through prevention, treatment, and recovery, while continuing to work with our international partners to address the origins of illicit drugs.  As Chair of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, I look forward to leading the charge in the Senate to combat the addiction epidemic and the criminals driving it.”

“Deadly substances, like fentanyl, continue to claim tens of thousands of lives and destroy countless families in this country each year.  Much of this poison flows into our country from overseas.  It’s critical that we work together with our international partners to crack down on drug trafficking organizations and raise awareness about prevention, treatment and recovery programs,” said Grassley.

“This awareness day will help shine a light on the drug use epidemic that continues to harm so many Americans and their families.  By bringing awareness to this important issue, we can destigmatize the conversation and focus on ending the importation of illegal drugs and creating support systems for those battling substance abuse,” said Rice.

“I am proud to introduce this measure to recognize the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking along with my colleagues,” said Katko.  “Substance use disorder and overdose deaths have risen at an astronomical rate in the past few years, translating to immeasurable human suffering in communities across the country.  As Ranking Member on the House Committee on Homeland Security, I deeply understand the need to recognize the implications of this crisis and promote a strong response at the national level.  By raising awareness, we can end the stigma associated with substance use disorders, encourage those who need help to seek it out, and support our law enforcement as they work to combat international drug trafficking.”

In 2019, an estimated 275 million people worldwide used illicit drugs and an estimated 36.3 million people suffered from substance use disorders, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.  According to the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention, more than 107,000 individuals died from drug overdoses in 2021.  The National Institute of Drug Abuse projects illicit drugs cost the U.S. $193 billion annually in healthcare costs, crime, and lost productivity.

The Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control has a long history of working on a bipartisan basis to crack down on illicit drug trafficking globally, while expanding addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery services at home.  As Chairman of the Caucus, Whitehouse has held hearings that examined the federal response to the drug overdose epidemic, the role and effectiveness of U.S. drug control agencies in addressing corruption associated with the illicit drug trade, and how drug cartels have adapted their production, trafficking, and finance schemes for the 21st Century.  This week, the Caucus also held an oversight hearing of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and its 2022 National Drug Control Strategy.

The full resolution is available here.

Rich Davidson (Whitehouse), (202) 228-6291

Taylor Foy (Grassley), (202) 224-3744

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921