The heroin epidemic has reached level highs this year, especially in the northeast region of the United States. In an effort to control the heroin trade, U.S. Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer of New York is asking the federal government to allocate $100 million to the federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program. The program will aid officials in New York and New Jersey in the ongoing battle as heroin use is growing along the east coast.
A large component of the effort involves assessing the region’s heroin trafficking patterns and enabling the sharing of information amongst local and federal agencies. Schumer is confident that the additional funding will give a much-needed boost to officials lacking the resources to effectively contribute to the effort.
$100 million is a lot, however, some might argue that it is necessary to combat the thriving heroin trade. Seizures of heroin in New York so far in 2014 have already surpassed those of any previous year since 1991. Schumer identified this statistic as “alarming trend that we must nip in the bud.” In addition to seizures, death rates from heroin overdose are also on the rise.
“Now everyone saw what happened with the crack epidemic. Our society ignored it for too long. It’s got its tentacles deeply into our young people, and took a decade to get rid of it,” Schumer said. “We cannot wait that long for heroin.”
The money would also fight the problem at its source. Schumer said the funding would help fight against Mexican and South American drug cartels, which are known to be supplying heroin to the New York and New Jersey area.
The funding would be included in the Senate appropriation bill that is being considered within the coming weeks.