Sessions says nation cannot sustain opioid epidemic

Published: Aug. 29, 2017 at 5:40 AM CDT
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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says America cannot sustain the growing number of people and families impacted by addiction to opioids.

On Tuesday, Sessions spoke at The National Alliance for Drug-Endangered Children Conference at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay.

"Every five minutes a baby is born in America dependent on drugs. In Wisconsin the rate of NAS has been reported to increase 26-fold since 2001," Sessions says. "That's not different much from the nation. We cannot accept this reality. We are better than this."

Sessions says treatment is important, but suggests local communities focus more on prevention.

"We cannot accept this. Family break up, job loss, bankruptcy, homeless, college degrees forfeited, jail, even death," Sessions said. "It's not something this nation can sustain."

Sessions expressed concern that street prices for drugs are at an all-time low. He says children are endangered by living in homes with addicts.

Sessions says in 2015, more than 800 people overdosed on drugs and died in Wisconsin.

Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith says there department is dedicated to fighting the crisis, but there's always more that can be done.

"We recognize that here in Green Bay, a lot of the crime, the daily crime we see, the thefts from peoples' houses, the burglaries that get broken in, the thefts from businesses, retail theft, that's largely driven by the low -level drug user who is looking for that amount of money to get the next high," Chief Smith says.

Police, prosecutors, social service and health workers, treatment and prevention experts attended Tuesday's conference. These experts and leaders are from around the country.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said discussion is focused on topics like child neglect, human trafficking, and caring for traumatized kids.

Schimel says Wisconsin is a leader in working to help drug-endangered children.

Forty-nine counties and seven tribal communities already run programs and ten more plan to have programs up-and-running in the next year.

Schimel says he believes Attorney General Sessions understands the needs of the people working to help kids affected by drug abuse.

The state's top cop praised Sessions and the Trump administration for their approach to preventing drug flow.

“Mexico and Central America are the largest sources of methamphetamine, fentanyl, and heroin that law enforcement are encountering in our state,” said Attorney General Schimel. “I am happy to hear the Trump administration’s commitment to stopping these deadly drugs from flowing over the border and into our communities and appreciate the administration’s efforts to discourage the use of all illegal drugs, including marijuana.”

Watch Live: Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks in Green Bay.

Posted by WBAY TV-2 on Tuesday, August 29, 2017