U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York is asking the federal government to allocate $100 million to curb the heroin trade in his state. Seizures of heroin in New York this year have already surpassed those of any previous year since 1991.
Schumer wants the money to be given to the federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, according to the New York Daily News. The program will help law enforcement authorities in New York and New Jersey better assess the region’s heroin trafficking patterns, he said. Schumer also hopes the funds will help local and federal agencies to share information.
“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. We cannot wait till the heroin problem becomes an epidemic.”
The funds would be part of an upcoming Senate Appropriations bill, Newsday reports. Schumer said the money will help fight against Mexican and South American drug cartels, which are supplying heroin to the New York area. The Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor in New York City seized 288 pounds of heroin in the first four months of 2014. “For a while we thought the heroin scourge had ended, but it’s back and it’s stronger than ever,” he said.
New York City has become a hub for the heroin market along the East Coast, according to law enforcement officials. It is sold in New York to users all along the East Coast, in glassine envelopes costing between $6 and $10. About one-third of heroin seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration nationwide since October was found in New York State. In previous years, New York heroin seizures have accounted for about one-fifth of the total.