New initiatives from White House to combat rise in deaths due to heroinCraig Dalton (Author) Published Date : Aug 17, 2015 23:20 IST
With deaths from heroin overdose rising steadily across the nation, on Monday, the White House is announcing a plan with will pair public health workers with law enforcement officials in its effort to put emphasize on treatment rather than prosecuting the addicts, says the Washington Post.
On Sunday, the newspaper reported citing two senior officials that the program initially would be funded for $2.5 million by the office of National drug control policy under White House and is to cover 15 states.
The plan is to focus on tracing the source of heroin. It is believed that a lethal opiate additive is being mixed at this source and then distributed to a wide array of drug dealers, says the newspaper. This concoction is blamed for the rise in share of overdose deaths in recent times. According to the post this reaction from the White House comes in the wake of a sharp rise in heroin use as well as deaths due to heroin, particularly in New England and other Northeastern states which will come under the plan.
Between 2002 and 2013, deaths due to heroin overdose across the United States has almost quadrupled and an increase in abuse of opiate painkillers under prescription and decrease in costs have significantly contributed to this situation according a statement from U.S. health officials in July.
Health policy analysts and 15 drug intelligence officers are to collect data on trends in heroin trafficking and overdoses under the new program being initiated by the White House. The data so collected would be distributed to the local law enforcement, says the report. The report further adds that the plan also includes training first responders on using medication to reverse the overdose.
Quoting a senior official of the White House, the post said that an inclusive and broad approach was needed and that law enforcement was only one part of what was really needed as a comprehensive public safety and public health approach.
A law enforcement official also added that the step was trained towards reducing crime as well as the number of persons who ended up in emergency rooms. He added that while heroin was killing people and too often, law enforcement goes one way and public health goes the other way.
No immediate comments were available from the White House.
New initiatives from White House to combat rise in deaths due to heroin