As more and more people across the country fall victim to heroine overdose, the White House is getting ready to announce a program that will link public health to law enforcement for the first time in recorded history. The goal is not to punish heroine users, but to give them the help that they need and treat them.
The experimental approach is only funded for one year for the time being, and spans across 15 states, from New England to Washington D.C. It consists of pairing up public health coordinators with drug intelligence officers in an attempt to trace the source of the heroine, the person who distributes it to drug dealers on a street level, and where and how the manufacturer laces it with the deadly additive.
The program was meant to be made official on Monday, but two (2) senior officials from the White House leaked the information to Washington Post on Sunday. They described it as the White House’s response to the increasing number of heroine users and heroine related deaths.
The most affected areas seem to be New England and part of the Northeastern states included in the program, however the entire country is going through a period of heroine addiction. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) informs that the number of deaths caused by heroine overdoses has quadrupled in the past ten (10) years.
Both local cops and federal law enforcement agencies have said that there are two (2) major obstacles that have kept them from getting in front of the issue – on one hand, they can’t manage to get solid and timely information on where the heroin is coming from and who is the person behind it, on the other hand, they also mentioned that ignorance in recognizing and handling overdoses is widespread among first responders, which allows many victims to die.
But the new program aims to hire 15 health policy analysts and 15 drug intelligence officers in an attempt to get passed these obstacles. Their job will be to collect overdose data, look for patterns, and gather intelligence on trafficking trends before passing it on to street-level law enforcement officers. This is believed to be a much quicker approach than the one the current system allows for.
The program also seeks to train first responders and teach them how and when to deploy meds that can reverse heroine overdoses.
One of the two (2) senior officials from the White House gave a statement saying that “Our approach needs to be broad and inclusive. Law enforcement is only one part of what really needs to be a comprehensive public health, public safety approach”.
So far, only 26 of the 50 states have passed the overdose-prevention legislation which allows police officers and fire-and-rescue officers to give naloxone to heroine overdose victims. Naloxone is known for combating the effects of heroine overdoses, however first responders in the remaining 24 states put themselves in danger of being arrested if they use it to help an overdose victim.
Image Source: homedetox.co.za