Heroin Big In NYC; Overdose Deaths Outpace Homicides Second Straight Year


Heroin is more lethal in 21st century New York than a handgun or a switchblade, says the New York Daily News. Fatal overdoses outnumber homicides, and law enforcement seized roughly $300 million worth of heroin in 2014. Authorities suspect that's a small fraction of the dope available. “Heroin is making a big-time comeback,” says Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who said heroin deaths outpaced murders in New York for the second straight year in 2014. Exact numbers for last year were not available, but 420 people people died from heroin overdoses in 2013, when there were 335 homicides. Three agencies — the NYPD's narcotics division, the city's office of the special narcotics prosecutor and federal Drug Enforcement Administration's New York division — seized 2,186 pounds of heroin in 2014. That equates to about 30 million heroin doses with a street value of about $300 million.

In the first quarter of 2015, the DEA alone has taken nearly 220 pounds of smack off the streets, equaling the amount seized in all of 2014. The office of the special narcotics prosecutor has seized an additional 120 pounds of heroin this year. “We've never seen these numbers, not even in the heroin epidemics from 30 to 40 years ago,” said James Hunt, DEA agent in charge. If these massive takedowns constitute just a portion of what's actually reaching the drug-hungry public, the city is blanketed with powder, said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan. “Clearly, we have a problem,” said Brennan, who launched a new heroin interdiction team last year. “When there is a big supply, it will translate into a big demand.”

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