Key GOP lawmaker says public oblivious to consequences of opioid crisis

Rep. Pete KingPeter (Pete) KingRetiring lawmaker's 2018 opponent won't run for seat, citing 'difficult' pregnancies House panel advances flavored e-cigarette ban Hillicon Valley: Schumer questions Army over use of TikTok | Federal court rules against random searches of travelers' phones | Groups push for election security funds in stopgap bill | Facebook's new payment feature | Disney+ launch hit by glitches MORE (R-N.Y.) in an interview that aired Monday on "Rising" said that the issue of drug trafficking across the southern border is not getting enough attention in the public eye, despite more focus on the growing opioid crisis in the U.S. 

"Drugs coming across the border is a serious issue," King, who sits on the House Homeland Security Committee, told Hill.TV. 

"I don't think it's fully resonated with the American people. I think they're focused on, and I understand why, just the fact that illegal immigrants are coming across the border, but the issue of the drugs does not get the coverage I believe it deserves," he continued. 

King's comments come as a bipartisan group of lawmakers, as well as the Trump administration, has worked to combat the growing epidemic. 

The House last week overwhelmingly passed legislation aimed at fighting the crisis. 

The bill cracks down on illicit opioids being imported by mail and lifts some limits on Medicaid paying for care at addiction treatment facilities. 

The Senate is expected to soon send the legislation to President Trump’s desk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the opioid epidemic resulted in the deaths of over 42,000 Americans in 2016. 

— Julia Manchester