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WASHINGTON, DC -- With historic federal funding and a holistic plan in place to address the nation's drug abuse crisis, Chairman Hal Rogers (KY-05), Chairman Emeritus of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, saluted U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions today for his efforts to address the opioid abuse epidemic with a three-pronged approach including prevention, treatment and law enforcement.

"Mr. Attorney General, you could not do a better job than elevate this issue in the minds of the public and law enforcment. It's a calamity as you have said. We are losing more people to opioid deaths than car wrecks and gun violence combined," said Rogers. "The fentanyl problem with heroin is the new fatal twist. What can you tell us about trying to stop the flow of fentanyl from China to Mexico, through the drug cartels in Mexico, and into the distribution system in the U.S.? What can you tell us about that and are we making any progress on fentanyl prevention?"

"China is the main source of fentanyl," responded Sessions. "The President has raised it with Chinese leaders personally. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has been to China and talked with them. DEA and FBI both have a presence there and I have raised it with two different Chinese delegations to the United States and they have made promises. They have taken some steps. It has not yet impacted us successfully, but we are urging them, and I think we have a right to expect them to be cooperative in a matter this important to the people of the United States."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids, other than methadone, such as fentanyl increased by 88 percent from 2013 to 2016. From 2015 to 2016, the rate doubled.

"The FBI has doubled its team. They've figured out a way to hammer these dark websites where people order it through the mail," continued Sessions. "I'm more confident now that we can make progress in that area. I think the goal is clear to reduce this problem, not just preside over a continuing problem, but to go at it hard. Based on my experience as a prosecutor on the judiciary committee, I think we can do it." 

"I think when the history books are written, Mr. Attorney General, this will be the most important fight that you are leading," said Rogers in his closing comments. 

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Rogers has served Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District since 1981. With a focus on economic development, job creation, fighting illegal drugs and preserving Appalachia’s natural treasures, he has a reputation for listening to his constituents and fighting for the region he represents. For more information, visit Congressman Rogers' online office at or follow him on Twitter or Instagram @RepHalRogers, and on Facebook.

CJS Hearing FY19
Chairman Rogers questions Attorney General Sessions about the national drug abuse epidemic