Congressman Goodlatte, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, plans to devote valuable committee time to a hearing Thursday on “The Effect of Sanctuary City Policies on the Ability to Combat the Opioid Epidemic.”
In effect, Goodlatte is choosing to ignore the many more salient causes of the opioid crisis (pharmaceutical company spending, shortages of addiction treatment options, poverty, unemployment, lack of health insurance) to put the most divisive and partisan spin on a national tragedy.
According to the Harvard Business Review:
Every part of the country is battling opioid addiction, but the worst-hit states include Ohio, West Virginia, and New Hampshire.
In fact West Virginia and New Hampshire have no sanctuary cities, and Ohio has only one (Cincinnati). Despite Goodlatte’s bizarre effort to link the opioid crisis to sanctuary cities, there is no evidence of a connection between the two.
Responding to Goodlatte’s plan for the hearing, Judiciary Committee Democrats wrote to the chair calling for a more comprehensive examination of the epidemic:
In 2016, more than 42,000 people died of opioid overdoses, which equates to 115 people dying every day of preventable causes. On October 26, 2017, President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a Nationwide Public Health Emergency. At the time, you stated that ‘the House Judiciary Committee will continue to review our nation’s laws to determine if more resources are needed to address this crisis.
Shortly thereafter, on November 1, 2017, the President’s Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis released its final report setting forth 56 specific recommendations to address the ongoing epidemic. It is long past due that the Committee held a hearing to examine these issues and how we can work in bipartisan manner to consider comprehensive measures to combat the opioid epidemic.
The Democrats concluded their letter:
[W]e should explore the opportunities for bipartisan action on these issues instead of focusing on divisive anti-immigrant politics. Therefore, we request that the full Committee or the Crime Subcommittee convene hearings to address means by which we can do more to prevent and fight opioid abuse in our country.