The senator from Massachusetts opened up to the public Wednesday about her quest to end the war on drugs, as well as her struggles with addiction and addiction treatment, saying she’s learned more from her battle with substance abuse than from her political career.
“I’ve learned that the only way to heal is to do something positive with it,” Warren said at a town hall event in Boston.
“I’m not afraid to do anything.
I don’t care who you are.
I’m not ashamed to be a survivor.
And I’ve learned to do this from my own experience.”
The Massachusetts Democrat is one of four women who’ve launched their own Senate investigations into the nation’s drug war.
She’s also the only woman in the Senate to lead a Senate subcommittee on addiction.
In the wake of President Donald Trump’s first address to the nation on the opioid crisis, Warren’s office issued a statement announcing the formation of a bipartisan task force to look at the drug war and how to curb its spread.
She said the committee would examine “the long-term effects of the drug policies that are currently in place, as they are affecting people across America, including those most affected by drug addiction.”
The committee will be chaired by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), along with Sen. Ed Markey (D/Mass.), Sen. Tom Udall (D), Sen. Ron Wyden (D) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D).
The group will include a wide range of experts, including former federal prosecutors, advocates, and others with experience in drug policy, law enforcement, and addiction.
Warren said she’s confident the task force will find ways to reduce the spread of opioid abuse and addiction while also addressing the root causes of the crisis, and that it will include the voices of people across the country.
She said the taskforce would also address issues of mass incarceration, including the high cost of policing, mass incarceration and the criminal justice system’s disproportionate impact on minorities.
“It will also address the ways that the drug trade is used to make money, and to hide drug trafficking and drug use,” Warren told reporters Wednesday.
“And it will also look at ways to keep communities safe from drug traffickers and the criminals that make them.”
“It’s an opportunity for me to be part of a national conversation about this very real issue,” Warren added.
“But it’s also an opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives.”
Warren said the group would be chaired “by someone who’s a veteran of this drug war, someone who has a background in addiction treatment.”
The group’s initial meeting is set for April 7 in Washington, D.C. and the next meeting will take place on May 18.