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PHOTO RELEASE: In Orlando, Rubio Speaks Out On Heroin Epidemic

May 16, 2016 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today met with Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs in Orlando, Florida to discuss the heroin epidemic sweeping through Central Florida. In a media availability following the meeting, Rubio stressed the importance of cutting off the drug supply from the Mexican border, raising awareness of the disease and getting those who are addicted the proper treatment.

“The first thing I would say is there isn’t one law, one measure, one thing you can do,” said Rubio. “It’s going to require a number of things, from cutting off the supply across the border from Mexico to treating people. 

“Treatment is critically important,” Rubio added. “It’s almost impossible for someone who has this disease. … Addiction to an opiate is a disease, it needs to be treated as what it is, a medical condition. And getting people to treatment programs, particularly those that are uninsured, is going to be critical.”

When asked what the federal government could do to fight the heroin epidemic, Rubio responded, “Cut off supply from Mexico. We need to improve our ability to monitor the border. People and drugs are being trafficked. Fund treatment options, especially for the uninsured who don’t have a way to seek treatment and break their addiction. Work with the FDA to come up with alternative treatment for chronic pain. This is a long-term solution. If we have an alternative, people won’t develop opioid addictions. Increase awareness. Break stigma against people who have this medical condition. People should be treated like anyone else with a medical condition.”

Earlier this year, Rubio joined Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) in co-sponsoring the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which passed the Senate in early March and addresses the national epidemic of prescription opioid drug abuse and heroin use.

A partial transcript of the media availability is available below.

The following photos are attributable to the Orange County Government:

Rubio and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs at a media availability following a meeting on the heroin epidemic in Orlando:

The following photo is attributable to the Office of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio:

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
Media Availability on Heroin Epidemic in Orlando
May 16, 2016

Senator Marco Rubio: “On the issue of the heroin epidemic, it’s obviously a national issue. We hear about it all over the country, everyone, my colleagues in the Senate [have] a concern about it, and it’s a multifaceted issue.

“The first thing I would say is there isn’t one law, one measure, one thing you can do. It’s going to require a number of things, from cutting off the supply across the border from Mexico to treating people.

“Treatment is critically important. It’s almost impossible for someone who has this disease… Addiction to an opiate is a disease, it needs to be treated as what it is, a medical condition. And getting people to treatment programs, particularly those that are uninsured, is going to be critical.

“I think awareness is important. A lot of people that are on pharmaceutical medications don’t realize that they build tolerance to this medicine. Obviously the availability of Narcan and other life-saving drugs has been helpful in terms of saving lives, but it isn’t solving the problem long-term.

“So all of these things are critical, and they all have to be done. The good news is that attention is being paid to this. The bad news is that there’s a lot of work yet to be done. For even as we speak there are people that this month and this year will become addicted to an opiate [unbeknown] to them that they’re just taking the medicine and that it could in fact lead them to a life of addiction followed by all the behaviors associated with searching it out once they can no longer get the medicine and, of course, you get into this vicious spiral.”

When asked what the federal government could do to fight the heroin epidemic, Rubio responded…

Rubio: “Cut off supply from Mexico. We need to improve our ability to monitor the border. People and drugs are being trafficked. Fund treatment options, especially for the uninsured who don’t have a way to seek treatment and break their addiction. Work with the FDA to come up with alternative treatment for chronic pain. This is a long-term solution. If we have an alternative, people won’t develop opioid addictions. Increase awareness. Break stigma against people who have this medical condition. People should be treated like anyone else with a medical condition.”