Pubdate: Mon, 17 Aug 2015
Source: Orange County Register, The (CA)
Copyright: 2015 The Orange County Register
Author: Marc Fisher, The Washington Post


WASHINGTON - As heroin overdoses and deaths soar in many parts of the 
nation, the White House plans to announce today an initiative that 
will for the first time pair public health and law enforcement in an 
effort to shift the emphasis from punishment to the treatment of addicts.

The experiment, initially funded for one year in 15 states from New 
England to the Washington, 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.

Two senior officials described the initiative to The Washington Post 
on the condition of anonymity because the program was not scheduled 
to be announced until today. The new program is a response to a steep 
increase in heroin use and deaths in much of the nation. The death 
rate from overdoses has quadrupled in the past decade, according to a 
report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Two constant frustrations in the battle against the spread of heroin 
have been an inability to get solid, timely information about where 
the drug is coming from and who is distributing it, and widespread 
ignorance about how to recognize and handle overdoses.

The new effort, proposed by the New York/New Jersey High Intensity 
Drug Trafficking Area program, seeks to address those problems by 
hiring drug intelligence officers and health policy analysts who will 
collect data, find patterns and get intelligence about trafficking to 
street-level law enforcement quicker than the current system allows.
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