Photo Courtesy of DEA
Schumer called for the special DEA opioid team back in June.
By Forum Staff
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency will provide New York with a special heroin enforcement team, stationed on Long Island, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer announced on Friday.
In June, Schumer urged the DEA to commit to providing New York with one of the special teams being delivered to states suffering from opioid abuse. On Friday, the agency said that the six teams will be delivered to: Long Island, Charleston, Cleveland, Cincinnati, New Bedford and Raleigh.
New York’s senior senator noted that his office secured $12.5 million in federal funding for DEA in the Fiscal Year 2017 omnibus funding bill for the creation of new enforcement groups specifically dedicated to counteracting heroin and fentanyl trafficking and eradicating its availability. The groups will be directed to states that report heroin as the highest drug threat. In New York, the team will be comprised of two new DEA agents plus two officers from an existing task force, Schumer said.
“New York is getting an A-Team to help tackle the heroin and fentanyl epidemic and it couldn’t come soon enough,” the senator added. “I helped deliver the funds the DEA needed to create these teams because we are in urgent need of help and a special heroin enforcement team will lend a major hand in the fight to end the opioid scourge. I’m pleased that the feds have heeded the call. As the overdoses related to illicit fentanyl and other synthetic opioids increase, the new enforcement team will help the NYPD, Long Island and other local police departments across the state contain and beat back the dangerous tide. We must not let off the gas pedal in the fight against opioid dealers, abuse and death in New York.”
According to the City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, there were 1,374 unintentional drug overdose deaths in New York City in 2016, compared to 937 unintentional drug overdose deaths in 2015—an increase of 437. Approximately four fatal drug overdoses occurred each day in the five boroughs last year. More than eight in 10 overdose deaths involved an opioid and heroin was involved in 751 (55 percent) of all fatal overdoses in NYC last year. Fentanyl was involved in 44 percent of all fatal overdoses last year.
And according to the State Department of Health, in 2015 there were 172 opioid overdose deaths in Nassau County, including 71 related to heroin; 213 opioid overdose deaths in Suffolk County, including 137 related to heroin.