Sen. Charles Schumer diverged from the White House Sunday, championing the need for more money to fund a national drug trafficking program that coordinates different law enforcement agencies.
Speaking at a news conference from his New York City office, Schumer said the state needs more money to combat the use of heroin, specifically a new kind of prescription painkiller Fentanyl-laced heroin known as "China White."
The senator said the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Program, or HIDTA, helps track the drugs as they cross state lines. This year, he said, President Barack Obama allotted about $193 million in his budget to the program, a proposed cut of about $50 million.
"This is one area I disagree with the president and I'm going to fight to reverse his decision," Schumer said. "More and more we hear stories about young adults on Long Island overdosing on heroin, or residents in Manhattan or the Hudson Valley dying from the drug.
"What we do know is this is not the right time to be letting our foot off the gas pedal in the fight against heroin dealers, heroin abuse, and death in New York," he added.
Schumer said he wants the budget for HIDTA to be increased by $100 million, of which "New York would get a good chunk of that."
In New York City, 420 people died of heroin overdoses in 2013, more than double that of 2010, Schumer said. The statistics for 2014 were not yet available, he said.
Currently, New York City is a designated HIDTA areas.
"The resources are not just the dollars," Schumer said. "The intelligence gathering is the most important. The resources provide for great coordination between the feds who know where the heroin comes in and know who the dealer groups are worldwide, and local law enforcement."