FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 07/16/18
Sen. Whitehouse: Your 45-Second Ad Is a Disgrace and Does Not Make Up for Eleven and a Half Years of Failure
WARWICK, R.I. – Former Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice and candidate for U.S. Senate, Judge Bob Flanders, issued the following statement regarding Sen. Whitehouse’s deceptive new ad on opioids:
“Sen. Whitehouse’s new ad is a disgrace and reaches new heights of hypocrisy because it dishonors every Rhode Islander that the opioid crisis has affected. Sheldon Whitehouse has been a disaster to Rhode Island on opioids. Where has he been for eleven and a half years? In the pocket of drug manufacturers and tying the hands of the DEA. He has blood on his hands and drug money in his pockets. Time’s up.
Rhode Island has one of the worst opioid death rates in the country. In 2015, we were ranked third and improved only slightly to ninth in 2017. Let’s look at the numbers from the Rhode Island Department of Health. In 2011, there were 53 opioid deaths in Rhode Island; in 2012, 183 deaths; in 2013, 232 deaths; in 2014, 240 deaths; in 2015, 290 deaths; in 2016, 336 deaths; and in 2017, 323 deaths. These aren’t just numbers; they are our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, and part of our Rhode Island communities.
For eleven and a half years, scores of Rhode Islanders died every month and Sheldon Whitehouse did nothing.
Where were you Sheldon? I will fight tooth and nail to hold Sen. Whitehouse accountable for R.I. families. Hoping a 45-second ad will paper over your failed tenure and complicit dealings is a slap in the face to Rhode Island families that this crisis has devastated. Talk about cynical and pandering!
Contrary to the ad’s assertion, the “most important opioid legislation” that Sen. Whitehouse sponsored was the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act, which, unfortunately, was the culmination of a multiyear effort by drug distribution companies and pharmacy chains to counter aggressive DEA enforcement actions. That law gutted the DEA’s ability to shut down pill mills that were flooding the market with excessive amounts of opioids.
Sen. Whitehouse’s addiction to the corporate lobbying money of Big Pharma (accepting $117,396 in donations from 2013 to 2018, in addition to having hundreds of thousands in investments in pharmaceutical firms while he works on legislation that benefits those companies) has taken its toll long enough.
The ad is a disgrace and an insult to Rhode Island families that the opioid crisis has affected. Sen. Whitehouse would be more helpful to Rhode Island if he resigned.
This stops now.”
Link to ad: https://whitehouseforsenate.com/2018/07/17/michelles-story/