Between 2002 and 2013, the rate of people dying from heroin-related overdoses in the U.S. almost quadrupled.
This dramatic increase, as well as a spike in heroin use, is why the White Houseintroduced Monday a $5 million program aimed at curbing heroin use and trafficking. Half of the money will go to a program that emphasizes treatment over prosecution of drug addicts. The Washington Post first reported the plan and the reasoning behind it, citing two senior administration officials. Here’s how it will work:
The experiment, initially funded for one year in 15 states from New England to the D.C. area, will pair drug intelligence officers with public health coordinators to trace where heroin is coming from, how and where it is being laced with a deadly additive, and who is distributing it to street-level dealers.
The initiative addresses “the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic as both a public health and a public safety issue," Michael Botticelli, the director of National Drug Control Policy, said in a statement Monday. His agency will carry out the plan.