Sen. Joe Manchin (R-WV) talks to reporters after attending a Senate bipartisan lunch in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill February 4, 2015 in Washington, DC.
Manchin: opioid pills prescribed 'like M&M's'
06:31 - Source: CNN

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"We need to declare a war on drugs," Manchin told CNN's Jake Tapper.

"It's just been unbelievable," Manchin said.

Washington CNN  — 

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin called for a new “war on drugs” Tuesday to combat the opioid crisis striking his state of West Virginia, eagerly adopting the language of the now much-criticized Nixon-era push to curb illicit substance use.

“We need to declare a war on drugs,” Manchin told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead” when asked what President-elect Donald Trump should do to combat the situation.

“We’ve got some places that are really having some success rates, Jake, and most of them are run by reformed addicts,” Manchin said.

As an example, the senator said children who began using recreational marijuana eventually could progress to their parents’ prescriptions and then later routinely take heroin. “It’s just been unbelievable,” Manchin said, adding that opioid pills are prescribed “like M&M’s.”

A report by West Virginia’s Charleston Gazette-Mail this weekend detailed how drug firms have sent hundreds of millions of painkiller drugs into the state as overdoses spiked.

Yet the “war on drugs” – a national commitment unveiled by Richard Nixon in 1971 – is now largely ridiculed today given the prevalence of drugs use and the price-tag of the efforts to curb the production and sale of illicit substances. Several states in recent years have decriminalized or even legalized recreational marijuana, including California, Massachusetts and Nevada in the most recent election cycle.

Manchin’s daughter, Heather Bresch, is the CEO of Mylan, which produces opioids. His campaign committee also has received about $180,000 in donations from the pharmaceuticals/health products industry between 2011-2016, according to Open Secrets, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that keeps track of money in politics.