Americans move to reduce drugs crossing Canada-U.S. border

BUFFALO, N.Y.—The U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure Tuesday that calls for a unified strategy to staunch the flow of illegal drugs across the U.S.-Canadian border.

The measure says the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) should come up with a way to blunt the growing movement of Ecstasy, heroin, cocaine and marijuana across the long and mostly unguarded border.

It calls for ONDCP to work with the head of each relevant national drug control program agency and state, local, tribal, and international governments to develop the strategy.

The U.S. Senate passed the measure over the summer.

Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and U.S. Rep. Bill Owens (Dem-N.Y.), said the only way to patch smuggling holes along the porous, 6,440-kilometre border is to work together.

If U.S. President Barack Obama signs the bill, the ONDCP will have 180 days to make recommendations. Funding will be sorted out once a strategy is in place.

“The Obama Administration is committed to a comprehensive and balanced approach to drug control that relies on reducing both the demand and supply of drugs in the United States,” White House Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske said in a statement Tuesday.

“Employing a smart, effective, and coordinated drug control strategy along our Northern border is critical to our efforts to reduce drug use and its consequences.”

In 2007, agents seized just a single kilogram of heroin and cocaine, compared with 18 kilograms of cocaine and 28 kilograms of heroin in 2009, U.S. Justice Department statistics show.

Far more of those drugs come across the U.S. southern border, but agents seize eight times the amount of the club drug Ecstasy up north than they do on the southern border. Over the past five years, agents on the border with Canada have nabbed about 400 kilograms of Ecstasy each year.

“Law enforcement in communities along the northern border can rest a little easier tonight knowing that the resources they need to stop the flow of drugs should be on the way soon,” Schumer said in a prepared statement.

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