The Surge In Opioid And Heroin Addiction Looms As A Key Topic As Leahy Sets Oversight Hearing With Drug Enforcement Chief

(WEDNESDAY, April 23, 2014) – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has set an oversight hearing with the head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) at which a key focus of the discussion will be the rise of opioid and heroin addiction and related problems in communities in Vermont and across the nation. 

Leahy announced that DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart will testify at the hearing, which is set for 10 a.m. next Wednesday, April 30, on Capitol Hill in Washington.  The Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over the agency.

Leahy on March 17 held a Judiciary Committee field hearing in Rutland on “Community Solutions To Breaking The Cycle Of Heroin And Opioid Addiction.”  Leahy also convened three earlier Judiciary Committee field hearings in Vermont on drug abuse and its related problems in rural America, in St. Albans, Barre and Rutland.  Those hearings focused in part on the successes of the Vermont Drug Task Force – an interagency partnership, which includes DEA involvement – for which Leahy secured federal funds to support for more than a decade.  Leahy also applied the findings of those hearings in his subsequent work on reentry issues and drug treatment programs through his Second Chance Act, in his support for drug courts, and in other ways.

Leahy said, “Law enforcement is a vital component in responding to the opioid surge.  This hearing is part of the continuing process of refining solutions and gauging their effectiveness in rural communities, as well as in large urban areas.”

The hearing will be webcast live, and continuing information about the hearing will be available at this link, on the Judiciary Committee website:  http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/meetings/oversight-of-the-drug-enforcement-administration

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