Rubio’s Cynical Election Year Posturing on the Drug Epidemic

After missing votes on bill to fight the opioid crisis and killing a prescription drug monitoring program in the Florida legislature, Rubio’s latest calls to fund drug prevention efforts ring hollow


In just the latest example that Marco Rubio will only act when it benefits his own interests, Florida’s Johnny-come-lately Senator just this week called on the Senate to fund the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), a bill he missed eight votes on while campaigning for President.


While Rubio is surely hoping his latest requests will earn him appreciation back home, a devastating story from Buzzfeed just months ago titled Rubio May See Complications If He Wants To Campaign On Addiction Treatment Issue demonstrates why his actions are more likely to be viewed in Florida as the cynical posturing of a politician desperate to keep his career alive.


As the Buzzfeed report detailed, when Rubio served in the Florida legislature and his state was facing a growing epidemic of prescription drug abuse, he killed bipartisan efforts to create a prescription drug monitoring program in order to enact political revenge over a bill related to the Miami-Dade County government:


Headlines from Palm Beach Post, Tampa Tribune, and Miami Herald all tied the death of the bill on political retribution against Burt over an unrelated bill that sought to change the structure of the Miami-Dade County government. “Death Of Drug Bill Blamed On Revenge,” one of the headlines reads, saying Rubio, along with other lawmakers from Southern Florida, took action on the prescription drug bill based on votes on the Miami-Dade bill.


Rubio, according to the Miami Herald, had been deciding whether to offer the amendment that would sink the bill and said at the time: “‘When I found out [Burt] broke his word, it made the choice easy.”


What made Rubio’s actions worse was that after he killed the bill, prescription drug monitoring legislation wasn’t passed in Florida until 2009, after Rubio left the legislature and Florida had become the “epicenter” of the nation’s pill mill problem:


“The failure of this bill was my biggest disappointment in the legislature,” said then-state Sen. Locke Burt, a Republican who sponsored the legislation, in an interview. “It caused more deaths than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”


“I got it out of the Senate four different times. Rubio in my view had a major role in killing it.”


“It will be hard for any Floridian to believe that Marco Rubio now suddenly cares about the drug epidemic when he played politics with Florida’s growing prescription drug problem as a state legislator,” said DSCC spokesman Sam Lau. “After introducing his cravenly opportunistic gun bill, this is just the latest example of how Rubio only shows up to work when his own self-interests—or electoral prospects—are at risk. Floridians deserve a Senator who will fight for them each and every day—not just when an election is around the corner.”

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