DORAL, FLA. (WSVN) - Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a South Florida stop to speak at the U.S. Interagency Opioid Summit, Thursday.
Sessions spoke to military leaders at the U.S. Southern Command about the opioid crisis plaguing the nation and the government’s campaign to end prescription drug abuse.
“This country is facing a crisis that we’ve never seen, I don’t think, anything quite like it in my experience,” Sessions said. “I believe we can do better.”
During his stop in Miami, Sessions said he was reminded of the Cocaine Cowboy days in the 1980s, and a similar aggressive response will be required to combat the opioid problem. “The Cocaine Cowboys were all over the place,” he said. “People started going to jail for 30 years without parole and the machine guns left the streets of Miami.”
Sessions also took the time to praise the efforts by President Donald Trump in the fight against the epidemic.
“The president of the United States is a tremendous ally in the battle against drugs. He understands it, he’s on our side,” Sessions said.
Sessions said his office had one of the biggest takedowns of health clinics over prescribing and says that another big bust is in the works for 2019. “It is a tremendous threat to us,” Sessions said. “It’s something we’ve never seen before.”
The epidemic is the leading cause of unintended death in the United States with more than 175 people dying every day, according to the White House.
The opioid crisis has claimed the lives of people like 10-year-old Alton Banks. Heroin and Fentanyl were found in his system.
“Opioid use has far surpassed the number of homicides and car accidents in this country,” said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.
On the same day that Sessions visited Doral, a group of people whose loved ones were affected by addiction, began a walk up the East Coast to raise overdose awareness.
“There is a huge problem in all communities along the east coast,” said Brett Bramble, who is participating in the walk.
They are walking from the Keys to Canada.
“What we want to accomplish with this as a team is to provide a unique opportunity to bring communities together to discuss a solution to this crises,” Bramble said.
Sessions said this is only the beginning. “Let’s take the actions that will actually make a difference,” he said.
The Senate Budget Proposal released Wednesday sets aside $6 billion to fight the opioid epidemic.
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