Concerned about the increase in heroin overdose deaths , Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder, called for increased efforts to fight what he considered an «urgent public health crisis.»
In a video released Monday, Holder said the increased efforts include not only law enforcement, but also treatment and efforts to keep people away from the deadly drug .
«It is clear that opium addiction is urgent – and – growing public health crisis. Which is why the authorities of the Department of Justice and other local leaders, state and federal code, are fighting it aggressively» Holder said, adding that heroin overdoses increased by 45% between 2006 and 2010.
The heroin-related deaths increased by 84 % from 2010 to 2012 in the city of New York and constituted 52% of all overdose deaths in 2012 , according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene City (DSHM ). Nationally, 105 people die every day in the United States for opiate .
One of the main efforts, Holder said, was to attack the problem by fighting highly addictive prescription pills, as these almost always lead to heroin addiction, according to studies .
«With the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as our lead agency , we have adopted a strategy to attack all levels of the supply chain to prevent pharmaceutical controlled substances from reaching the hands not use them for purposes doctors,» Holder said.
As an example of the growing problem, the Justice Department said there was a 320% increase in the seizure of heroin near the southwest border of the United States from 2008 to 2013 .
The attorney is also requesting that the first responders are equipped with a drug that works as an antidote to heroin overdose called naloxone. Parts of New Jersey and New York are already using the drug, which is injected into patients suffering from heroin overdose.
Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead on February 2 last in the bathroom floor of her apartment in New York with a syringe in his arm, the movie star died of acute poisoning caused by various drugs, including heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamines, as reported by the New York medical examiner’s office.