Press release: Udall previews prescription drug abuse hearing

WASHINGTON – On his weekly radio call today, U.S. SEN. TOM UDALL previewed a hearing he will take part in tomorrow to examine the prescription drug abuse epidemic in the United States, and New Mexico's sad distinction of having the highest drug overdose rate in the nation.

Udall also discussed the Republican's filibuster of the DISCLOSE Act, and the Senate's passage of the HEARTH Act, legislation to help tribes create economic development and combat the housing crisis in Indian country.

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0:00 – Udall opens the call with remarks on the DISCLOSE Act, a bill that would improve transparency in elections by requiring campaigns to disclose big donors. It was filibustered before the Senate could proceed to the bill.

0:50 – "The main thing this bill did, any organization who spends more than $10,000 in an election cycle has to report the donors to the Federal Election Commission within 24 hours. This includes corporations, labor unions, Super PACs, and we're just trying to shine sunlight on what is turning into be a very secretive process."

1:35 – "I think it shows the dramatic divide between us on what we think should be disclosed, and how transparent we should be, and the obstruction that's going on."

1:49 – Udall discusses the upcoming hearing in the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control on prescription drug abuse in the United States and how to respond to this epidemic.

2:09 – "New Mexico has the sad distinction of having the highest rate of fatal drug overdoses in the nation. Since 2007, New Mexico's death rate from prescription drugs, like oxycodone, morphine and methadone, has exceeded the overdose death rate from illicit drugs, like heroin and cocaine.

3:15 – "We're learning now that prescription drug abuse is a gateway to heroin use. New Mexico teenagers and young adults in high school and college are taking them to get high. But pills are expensive. Once they're addicted, we're seeing that many of them are resorting to heroin for one reason: it's cheaper. And they're dying from it."

3:36 – "Law enforcement and health organizations agree. Prescription drugs that fall into the wrong hands are the most significant emerging drug threat statewide."

4:20 – Udall talks about the Hearth Act, a bill originally sponsored by Rep. Heinrich in the House, that passed the Senate by unanimous consent today. The bill would allow tribes to create and regulate leasing of their trust lands for housing and community purposes.

5:22 – "This bill is supported by every tribe in New Mexico and [is] very important to all of Indian country… The real thrust of it is to combat the housing crisis in Indian country and to promote economic development."

6:11 – Udall answers questions on the Santa Fe Indian School's proposal to use trust land for economic development. 12:02 – Udall fields a question on synthetic marijuana use in New Mexico.

13:36 – Udall applauds and encourages local efforts to stem the tide of drug use in New Mexico.

14:28 – Udall answers a question on Tuesday's Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control hearing.

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