(Washington, DC) - On Thursday, May 24, 2018, the House of Representatives voted 351 - 66 to approve the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2019. This annual bill, which sets the defense and national security policies of the United States, included the provisions of H.R. 5546, a bill introduced in April by Representative Steve Knight (R-CA).

H.R. 5546 would authorize an additional $20 million of the National Guard's counterdrug programs to be used in support of inter-agency efforts to combat opioid trafficking and abuse.

"The international illegal drug trade not only peddles poison into our communities, but is also a significant threat to national security." said Rep. Knight "Terrorist organizations and international cartels often fund themselves through the trade of heroin, cocaine, and other illicit substances. By deploying already-existing DOD intelligence and surveillance assets to support ongoing anti-narcotics operations, we can give law enforcement agencies a huge advantage over criminals. This bill will ensure agencies are able to share information better so that operations are efficient and effective. I'm pleased that these provisions were included in the NDAA and that they received wide bipartisan support."

Over 42,000 people in the United States died from opioid-related issues in 2016. While the national crime rate has decreased in recent years, the illegal sale and transportation of illicit drugs continues to rise.

"I've seen first-hand what these drugs can do to a family and community." said Rep. Knight "We can't afford to shy away from measures that can help stop illegal narcotics or production assets from coming into our country."

Representative Steve Knight is an 18 year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department. He is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and serves on the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee and Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee. He is also a member of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force.