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  Cavuto Coast to Coast  FOX Business  March 29, 2017 12:14pm-12:44pm EDT

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education secretary, many others. let's listen in. >> down 61% at the border right now in terms of people and drugs and we have to deal with the crisis. we're fortunate to have governor chris christie with us, a friend of mine, great friend of mine, a very, very early endorser, in fact an immediate endorser once he got out of the race. he liked himself more than he liked me. >> -- sir, but that is all right. >> other than that he has been great. he he is a very effective guy i will tell you. so have you working on this at a great moment, people remember you talking about your friend. that was probably your greatest moment during the campaign for president. it showed hough much you knew about this issue thanks very much, chris. we'll work directly with representatives from state and local governments law enforcement, medical professionals and victims.
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i especially want to thank pam garazo, where is pam? hi, pam, how are you? for being here. pam sadly lost her son, a beautiful boy to drug addiction and pam, we mourn your terrible loss. we honor your strength and the fact that you're here. >> thank you. >> he will not have died in vain, okay? we'll make sure he will not have died in vain. thank you, pam, we appreciate it we're welcome aj solomon, vanessa atola, both who fought addiction and are symbols of hope and recovery, right? great job. we must get our citizens to it help and we need help. everybody has to help. and we will not have to go through what pam has gone through and some other families in this country have gone through. we want to help people like aj and vanessa who struggled through the dark depths of addiction, not easy, not easy.
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and they found this bright promise of recovery. we must also focus on prevention and law law enforcement which iy i issued previous executive actions to strengthen law enforcement and dismantle criminal cartels. drug cartels have spread their deadly industry across our nation and the availability of cheap narcotics, i mean cheap narcotics, some comes in cheaper than candy has devastated our communities. it is one of the biggest problems our country has and nobody really wants to talk about. vice president pence mentioned this coming into the room. he said this is a problem like nobody understands and i think they will start to understand it. more importantly we have to solve the problem. our attorney general jeff sessions is working very hard on this problem. takes a lot of his time because this causes so much of the crime that you have to solve, that problem.
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so solving the drug crisis will require cooperation across government and society, including early intervention to keep america's youth off this destructive path. we must work together, trust each other and forge a true partnership based on common ground of cherishing human life. so this is a very, very important meeting. maybe we'll go around the room and just say hello to everybody so we all know who we are. then the press will leave and we'll start talking. okay? general sessions, we know who you are. >> thank you. >> keep up the good work. >> betsy he devos, secretary of education. >> david shulkin, secretary of va. >> pam garazzo, parent of carlos. >> aj solomon. thank you -- mr. president. vanessa, thank you to much for helping me.
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[inaudible] >> scott pruitt, epa. >> richard townsend acting director of drug control policy. >> harvard medical school. >> pam bondi, attorney general of florida. >> ga rare a, founder of the ga rare a foundation. >> they could use you now. you would make 100 million a year. i watched for many years, mariano. george always felt good when mari rain know went in. he never had to worry. you through heaviest pitch the ball weighed 30 pounds. how about the broken bats. how many broken bats? >> too many. >> those bats used to crack, right? >> like fire word. >> great honor. thanks, mariano. jared and chris. say a few words. >> mr. president and vice president, thank you so
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much for focusing on this issue. as you know, mr. vice president, the governor of indiana for four years, this issue causes enormous pain and destruction to everyday families in every state in this country. mr. president, i thought it was important to bring pam, aj and vanessa here today, for you to hear them and directly about their stories. i'm so honored that the president would ask me to take on the task with the group we put together and thrilled to work with the attorney general as well on the issues of prevention and interdiction of drugs so we don't get people hooked into the first place. the most important thing to me, i think the president and i both agree addiction is a disease and it is a disease that can be treated. we need to make sure we let people know, the president talked about how folks don't talk about it. we talk about cancer. we talk about heart disease. we talk about diabetes and we're not afraid to talk about it but people are afraid and ashamed to talk about drug addiction.
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while they don't talk about we lose lives, lives of good, good people. in the end the president ended by saying, talking about life, and he and i are both pro-life. the difference with the president and i we're pro-life for the whole life. not just for nine months in the womb but for the whole life. every life is an individual gift from god and no life is irredeemable. people make mistakes. we all have. people make a mistake of drug use, and it is a mistake, we can't throw their life away. president and i believe that every life is an individual gift from god and is pressures. i think that is why it was such an important issue to him in the campaign. why i'm so honored to work with a president who understands the value of life and the value of second chances. that is what this commission i hope is going to be about, to be able to give he and the vice president the best suggestions we possibly can how to have a national fight against this epidemic. mr. president, thank you for your confidence in all of us and
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thank you for your support. >> thank you very much, chris. maybe, vanessa, you could tell a little bit of your story and how it has turned out so beautifully. we're so proud of you. >> so, first of all i would like to take this opportunity to thank you so much, to bring this whole platform to a national level. you are literally, everyone at the table is saving lives. there is people dying every single day. it's heartbreaking and governor christie, i need you to know i draw so much strength and courage from you. you standing up for people that have nearly given up completely. extraordinary. i come from a small town in south jersey. my aunt is a teacher. and she taught me the importance of education. my uncle is firefighter. he taught me the importance of law and order. i went to a private high school. i was a cheerleader. i went to college where i joined a sorority.
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after i left college, i had an injury and was prescribed painkillers. so quickly it took off from there. i didn't know anything about heroin. i was never warned not it is anybody else's fault, i take full responsibility. >> this all began very innocently with an injury? >> yes. with a prescription of painkillers. >> what was it? what was the drug they gave? >> percocet. from percocet it went to oxy. from oxy it went to heroin. it is definitely like you said more accessible and so much cheaper. very quickly i lost everything. i was homeless. i chose to be homeless. i was living on the streets of atlantic city. i was in and out of jail and i was lucky enough to see some kind of light where i was, became a drug court participant, the drug court system we have in new jersey saved my life.
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they sent me to a long-term treatment facility, integrity house in new jersey and they saved my life. >> how hard was that getting off this horrible stuff? how hard was it for you? >> physically? it was so hard. i felt that was the hardest part. but then, a couple of months late every becomes the psychological aspect of it, and you still think you need it, because you're still not as happy when you're happy. you're still, not as sad. it's, you have no feelings. like you're a shell and, and it takes over your whole life, to choose to be homeless instead of live with your parent. to choose not to speak with your family. >> -- during this whole process? i'm looking at you, you're like all-american perfect. okay, you're a perfect person. and i'm saying it is hard to believe you are living on the streets. >> it was so hard for my family.
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my mom would drive the streets of atlantic city begging people to find me. she couldn't find me. i was that lost in every aspect of the word. in jail, like i said, i was sent to integrity house. they saved my life. they gave me a second chance at life. from there i went to a halfway house. i got a job where i quickly moved up. i'm now a manager. i have my own apartment. i'm graduating drug court this year. and, it's amazing the opportunity that have been given to me. i'm sitting across from you right now. three years ago, i didn't have a place to live. and today i'm here to represent the light that can be born out of the he defeat of this darkness. it's, there is hope and there is a tomorrow and there is a day after that. you just have to fight for it. people have to know that there
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are people fighting for them too, because you give up. there come as point where you feel you have nothing. you already ruined everything. there is no point to get sober, but i'm here to show you there is hope. you can get better. there is a better way and there is a better life. and i wish i could tell you the the heartbreak i feel with the people overdosing every day and dying and families that have to go through that suffering because there is no need. we can help somebody. we can change this. and that's the most amazing thing i have ever been a part of in my whole life. i would like to thank each and everyone of you for giving me this opportunity. it means the world to me. it is my life. i used to think that being an addict was my downfall but look at me. i'm here today.
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it is obviously made me stronger and better person. >> incredible. [applause] amazing, amazing. thank you so much, vanessa. i will talk to you a little while. aj, i know how successful your father is and what a great man he is. that also put pressure on you in a different way, right? >> i didn't end up going into politics. >> don't do it, aj. >> so i mean, vanessa really spelled it out but i grew up in a little town in south jersey called haddonfield. a picturesque town, really good schools. my dad is supreme court justice in the state of new jersey. thank you for the appointment, governor. [laughter]. my mom also served in state government and i grew up, i was a good student.
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i was an athlete. i found alcohol and other drugs. i was probably well on my way to having an issue but then i found oxycontin. my dad got into an accident and i decided that it would be a good idea to try it and, that's really where my story started. you know, now -- >> [inaudible]. so much about oxycontin. were you immediately hooked? >> yeah. when i did, i did my first one, remember doing this thinking this how i want to live the rest of my life. i was always searching something outside of myself make me feel better. people think the drug is the problem. to some extent accessibility is. addiction was always a disease i always had and had to be unlocked. that is what i feel oxycontin did for me. when that happened, and i'm a brother and son and i own a treatment center. i'm so happy i went that route,
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i was on that track of governor's advance teach, not that i love it. i really enjoy what i do helping other alcoholics and addicts. >> do you still have an alcohol problem? >> i don't drink or do any drugs. >> you were going to see you would have that problem but you found this oxycontin. >> you know, i was a he thief and a liar. i ended up homeless. my parents did not want me home. i was living out of my car. i ended up going to a long-term treatment center. i accepted what i was, that i was an addict. i would rather have died than live with that. i left my friend to kill myself. i wasn't able to get home. i surrendered of the a lot of people don't believe this part of a story, whatever someone's conception of god or higher power is, i got on my niece on a shuttle i had independent uses, god, please let me die. i planned to shoot myself. i didn't have a gun. let me die or get this i swear to you, that obsession vanessa
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talked about to use was lifted that day. my goal in life is helping otheralcohollics or addicts. i think, back then i would have rather die than have this disease. now a normal person can be miserable and can be angry and resentful. that is how they will live their life. me, if i get angry, resentful, if i'm miserable, i will drink, do dope and heroin and then i will die. so i'm grateful. >> not anymore, right? >> i don't have, i'm not allowed to be miserable. i have to try to get the most out of life. normal people won't have that they won't die if they don't do that i'm grateful i am what i am. that's it. >> amazing stories. how did you get off it? did you go to a senter or something or what happened? >> i did. i went in the mountains in arizona, this place. i was only coming off opiates. and they said, it was this tall guy, never forget his name is bird, what are you coming off
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of, opiates. you don't need detox, you will feel like you will die but you won't die. they put me in the center detox cold turkey. >> what was that like? >> it is like 20 times worse than the flu but the anxiety worst part. suicidal ideations. if i had drugs in front i mean i would have done. >> he was right? >> yeah, he was right. >> you got through it? how long did that take. >> two weeks? they used to call it cold turkey, right? do they still do that? >> yeah. >> you went through two weeks of that. it was hell? >> yeah. >> you knew you were going to get better? >> no. the mental obsession came. i wanted to use so badly, but i accepted what i was, but i knew i couldn't. i wanted obsession to stop. i wanted my brain to stop yelling at me to pick up. i didn't want to be that person anymore. so i figured i would kill myself
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and it would stop. but i, my dad, you talked about -- he canceled -- my personal credit cards. i still don't know how he did it. i wasn't able to get on a plane to get home what i needed to end my life. i got on my knees and prayed. that was beginning. >> he did a great service when he did that. smart guy. you have done an amazing job. it is so great. not easy, right, aj? >> no. not easy. >> very proud of you. chris? [applause] >> mr. president, pam works in the new jersey state department of education. and, she is come one came to candlelight vigil i held before christmas for addicts in new jersey and families. ut her son carlos. >> first of all, mr. president and vice president, cabinet and
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extreme honor. i am here unfortunately because my son is no longer here. as governor christie said, i came to his candlelight vigil celebrating the fact with our education commissioner who is my boss, that my son was 10 month clean. he had been a year-and-a-half clean before that. before he had a relapse. one of many, several, celebrating his life and celebrating the lives of everybody to has, you know, who are in recovery. and, and then, later in december, actually, before that, i just want to. on december 3rd, this is not his normal attire as 3-year-old? on december third he was at church with my husband mike and me. could see behind me and left, walking down the aisle on my wedding day, one of happiest
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days of my life. carlos is happy, healthy, thriving working, getting ready for school. had a job, steady girlfriend, everything together. celebrating him at candlelight vigil. been at our wedding december third. three weeks later on december 23rd, two police detectives show up at our door tell me news no parent ever wants to hear. we didn't understand. this is a disease, you don't understand the dynamicses of it. my son od'd after being clean for 10 1/2 months, od'd on a drug laced with fentanyl? >> getting just out of control.
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carlos started smoking marijuana 15 1/2 years old. absolutely for him a grate way drug. led to heroin, cocaine, crystal meth. at 18, when he was senor in high with months to graduate he had a cristal meth overdoes and by the time i got to the hospital -- i didn't know he was doing this. by the time i got to the hospital the er said, you need to call your family now, i don't think there's anything we can do for your son. he suffered minor memory loss from that. as an 18-year-old, he said, i'm not going to touch anything again, had him in a program but less than a couple of names later he's back on the streets, not only taking drugs but got caught smoking pot and ended up in jail. i had told him early on, i will put every penny, every time i
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have in your recovery and getting you clean and helping you stay clean and supporting you 100% but you end up in trouble with the law, there's nothing i am doing for you because you to figure the way out of that. he was in jail a couple of times. he actually went to cold turkey in jail getting clean. when he was clean for a period of almost a year and a half
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they'll be empty seats at the thanksgiving table, christmas presents we won't be able to give. i will miss his laughter and his drive and sense of humor. when i asked him if he would walk my down the aisle, he asked me, what does that entail, what does that mean, but i'm pretty sure, i watched enough tv to know that i have to take my fishing trip to see if he measures up. [laughter] >> i had people coming up to us at the life celebration saying, your son is amazing. your son saved me, your son was one of the people that came and dragged me out of house that i
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was living in and took me to his place and gave me money that he really didn't have, brought me to a meeting. this is why i'm here. i'm here because i would like to see nationally what's happening with governor christie has managed to have happen in new jersey but, of course, with the help of legislators there, to make the program for recovery accessible and affordable to all because this is -- i was fortunate enough to have a good insurance plan but where there came a point that carlos needed to be in a program that was covered by the insurance plan. four days in a recovery program and those who haven't had any experience, you guys know, that's nothing. carlos beg today stay in and we scrambled and got the money to stay and we were able to keep him in. i'm here because no parent should have to bury their child, no parent should have to, you know, wonder, i did the drive
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looking for carlos day and night. nobody should have to go through this. this is entirely something that can be dealt with and i appreciate what you are willing to do in shedding the light. >> would he have been in better shape? would it have possibly saved him or not really? >> well, i think that he was in a couple of programs for a period of -- are you okay? >> he was in a program 35 days. that was his most successful program. as aj mentioned, carlos had an underlying problem with self-esteem and, you know, feeling good about himself. he just never could quite get there. he had a scholarship to university as a freshman, he was accepted in an engineer program. he had a lot of gift and talents but he never saw that. he was always looking for how
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can i escape, how can i -- and like aj, he also thought several times about suicide. so i think it's treating -- treating the whole person, it's not just the disease addiction but what is causing you to go after the drug to stay with it and once you're hooked, you're hooked, but what can you -- how can you work within yourself to feel good about yourself to feel that you're worthy. everybody is loved. everybody should feel loved and governor christie said every life is a precious life and i believe that every life is worthy of being reclaimed and unfortunately carlos couldn't entirely reclaim his life and behind everybody who is trying, suffering with addiction or in recovery, their parents and their family just like me. >> great guy and i know how tough it is. so many people go through it and
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we appreciate you being here. >> thank you. >> do you have anything to say? >> well, i just want to thank you for sharing your story because that's what we are all here about and we are seeing a surge in drug abuse and addiction. new england journal of medicine had a commission pointed out that with regard to heroin we've got more availability, lower price and much higher purity. that creates a more addiction quicker, i think, and it's a very dangerous situation. i do believe, mr. president, we took -- when i became united states attorney in '81 and the president and others led, the education department led and it took 20 years when we reduced drug abuse dramatically. it's beginning now to start back up. i think if we apply --
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>> when did it start again? it's so bad. when did it start over the last how many years where it took the big spike up? >> i think director chuck rosen burg. >> you would know that. >> we have seen spikes in '05, '06, '07. in the five t ten years the trajectory have been awful. there's number of pieces, one is that we consume as americans most of the world supply of oxycodone. once you get hooked on that, heroin is cheaper and more plentyiful and they just make transition. we have to change the culture.
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i think we can. one of the things we do at dea and i'm proud of men and women who do law enforcement really well, but ever since i was a brand-new federal prosecutor many, many years ago, i never thought we would enforce or prosecute our way out of this. that's part of it. it's really important part of it but we have always at the dea now turned to education, prevention, we talked about those things all of the time. i want folks to know, if i may, sir, we do a national takeback program twice a year. next one is on april 29th and people can drop off at 5,000 sites around the country courtesy of dea and local partners anything in their medicine cabinet that they don't want. last year we took in 1.6 million pounds of stuff. it includes everything, but we are going to do that relentlessly twice a year and encourage people to turn in drugs and try to break the
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cycle. >> so it's been really spiked over the last eight to ten years. would that have anything to do with the weakening of the borders because a lot of it comes from the southern border? >> a lot of it comes through méxico, a lot of it is produced in méxico. i should say this, we have worked closely with the mexican counterparts. a lot brave men and women are trying to help us do what we do. secretary kelly knows that as well as anyone. a lot of it also comes from asia. i was recently in china. i met with our counterparts there. a lot of synthetics is produced in china and our chinese counterparts have added some of those drugs to their ban list precluding it from -- hopefully precluding it from leaving china and coming into north america.
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there's a lot work to be done. there's a lot of smart people around the table but i can tell you from the perspective of the dea, sir, law enforcement is crucial, education and prevention and treatment is equally crucial. >> thank you very much. >> yes, sir. >> all right, thank you very much, folks. thank you. yes, we will.