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Opioid crisis in the United States (Photo: Shutterstock)

OPINION: Time To Take the Politics Out Of The Opioid Crisis

Despite being fact-checked twice, Senator Cortez Masto continues to run false attack ads

By Jeff Stone, October 6, 2022 7:29 am

In two recent television campaign attack ads, Senator Cortez Masto attacked former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt for not addressing the Purdue OxyContin opiate debacle and “national opioid problem” that has hurt Nevada.

What a hypocrite.

This is a lie.

Even the Washington Post has called Cortez Masto out on these ads, forcing her to take a commercial off the air. Politifact also ran a fact check on Cortez Masto’s attack ads and found her claims to be untruthful. Despite being fact checked twice now, she apparently continues to run these false claims on Facebook. At this point, I’ve come to expect this kind of lying and gutter politics from her campaign. 

Despite what these false attack ads claim, Mr. Laxalt is widely renowned for his innovative approach to addressing the opioid epidemic. Furthermore, it’s hypocritical for Cortez Masto to make such allegations, because, in her eight years as Attorney General, she did little to nothing to address the worsening drug crisis.

When Governor Steve Sisolak and the Nevada legislature passed Assembly Bill 236 in 2019, lessening penalties on drug traffickers, Cortez Masto was silent. Worse, in the United States Senate, she has voted nearly 100 percent of the time with President Joe Biden’s open borders policies that have increased the flow of both human trafficking and Chinese-produced fentanyl through our southern border, killing thousands, including Nevadans.

While serving as Nevada’s Attorney General, Mr. Laxalt helped lead a multi-state lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and established the “Prescription for Addiction” opioid initiative, which oversaw the purchase of drug incinerators to safely dispose of drugs throughout the State, the distribution of anti-overdose drug Naloxone to first responders, funding allocated toward prevention and education efforts, and the creation of an investigative position to assist with federal efforts to curb opioid abuse.

Mr. Laxalt also brought together regular law enforcement summits so that Nevada’s law enforcement agencies could better communicate and share resources needed to resolve the opioid crisis and other law enforcement issues. Mr. Laxalt successfully addressed the opioid problem with an innovative approach.

As a licensed Pharmacist and former assistant professor of Pharmacy and Pharmacology at U.S.C and Cal-State Dominguez Hills respectively, I am well educated on the extreme danger fentanyl is to those vulnerable to addiction. Fentanyl is fifty times more potent than heroin and has been labeled a ‘one pill will kill’ drug by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency.

Fentanyl is widely available in the United States, is inexpensive, and is often marketed by drug dealers as OxyContin or other less potent narcotics for the simple purpose of getting a user hooked regardless of the outcome or loss of life. Unscrupulous marketing, relatively cheap cost, and wide availability led to more than 107,000 fentanyl-related deaths in 2021 alone. Nevada’s Health District reports that at least 226 Clark County deaths were attributable to fentanyl in 2021, an increase from the previous year.

It is troubling that Senator Cortez Masto would air an ad so egregious that it had to be pulled off the air, but it is far more troubling that she would demean those struggling with addiction and those who have lost loved ones to score cheap political points.

Senator Cortez Masto has done little, if anything, to protect Nevadans from the scourge of addiction and specifically the increase of fentanyl in our state. Her false attacks aside, the opioid crisis is very real and should be a priority for every elected leader, regardless of political party or ideology. Given his successful and widely renowned record as Attorney General in addressing the opioid crisis, I’m supporting Adam Laxalt for U.S. Senate.

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Jeff Stone
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