Schumer demands emergency funds to battle drug trafficking

 

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called for $100 million in federal emergency funding to help combat drug trafficking.

“It is clear that we need an emergency surge of funding to help combat New York City’s emergence as a trade hub for heroin on the East Coast,” Schumer said Wednesday. “Today I am urging my Senate colleagues to provide $100 million in extra federal anti-drug tracking dollars.”

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Schumer wrote a letter to leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee — Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and ranking member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) — saying that New York has become a “hotbed” for the heroin trade but the problem is affecting the entire country. 

Senators are working on the 2015 Commerce, Justice and science appropriations bill. Schumer said the bill should include an increase in funding for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program to more than $330 million, a $100 million bump from last year.

“Seizures of heroin in New York City in 2014 have already surpassed those of any previous year since 1991, which demonstrates an alarming trend that we must nip in the bud,” Schumer said. “We all remember the horrors caused by the crack epidemic when it was left unchecked by federal officials and other law enforcement.”

Schumer said HIDTA helps local law enforcement agencies coordinate with public health officials. He said it was vital that police are able to track who is bringing heroin into the United States from Mexico because the use of the drug is becoming more prevalent.

According to the New York City Department of Health, deaths from heroin overdoses increased by more than 80 percent from 2010 to 2012.