House OKs task force to combat opioid trafficking in US

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The House has nearly unanimously approved a bill to form a task force dedicated to combating the opioid crisis nationwide.

The bill – sponsored by Congressman Jim Langevin, D-Rhode Island, – creates a Joint Task Force to Combat Opioid Trafficking.

Langevin said the nation must continue to find new ways to battle the opioid crisis.

“The fallout from it – over 47,000 people died in 2017 alone because of an opioid overdose,” Langevin said.

The legislation, according to Langevin, would allow agencies to work together in their battle against drug traffickers.

“We want to make sure that what Customs and Border Protection knows is being shared with the postal service, and that’s being shared with our private carriers like UPS and FedEx,” Langevin explained.

The bill would direct the Department of Homeland Security to work more closely with other agencies on the federal, state and local level to stop the flow of dangerous drugs into the United States.

Langevin said the task force would also involve the state department and the justice department in efforts to find the sources of illegal drugs.

His bill had strong support from both sides of the aisle.

“The joint task force approach to the opioid epidemic is effective because it fosters information sharing and exchange between all relevant stakeholders to combat the opioid epidemic,” Congressman Mark Green, R-Tennessee, said.

Green joined all but one member of the House in supporting the bill. He said the legislation is a step in the right direction.

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