NY Sen. Chuck Schumer pushes for heroin combat teams after deadliest overdose year on record

ALBANY, N.Y. — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is calling for federal help in the fight against opioid addiction in New York.

Schumer is asking the Drug Enforcement Agency to provide the state with one of four special heroin enforcement teams being formed to combat the problem. The four teams are specifically dedicated to counteracting heroin trafficking and are sent to states that report heroin as the highest drug threat.

"New York’s rampant heroin epidemic proves we are in desperate need of one of the four special heroin enforcement teams being launched throughout the country," Schumer said. "With more than a thousand deaths related to heroin overdoses in 2016 alone, it’s time for the DEA to bring it’s A-team to New York so that we can finally zero in on this epidemic and stop the scourge in its tracks."

The Democrat says New York's heroin overdose death rate increased by 30 percent in 2015. New data show there was an average of four overdose deaths a day in New York City alone last year. That was double the rate two years earlier. New York City also is a major distribution hub.

Overall, 24 New York counties are considered High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas.

There were nearly 1,400 unintentional drug overdose deaths in New York City in 2016, according to the NYC Department of Health. It was the first year during which more than 1,000 people died from an overdose in the city.