Sen. Charles Schumer on Monday called for a $100 million infusion in federal dollars to combat a surge in the heroin trade fueled by a pipeline from Mexico to New York area.
He said the $100 million would bolster the budget of a federal task force, known as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking from more than $238 million to more than $338 million.
The money would be a part of an upcoming Senate Appropriations bill. It would help the task force, which includes the DEA, NYPD, U.S. attorney's office and others better share intelligence, stem the flow of the drugs from Mexico and help prosecutors try the cases, he said.
"Now everyone saw what happened with the crack epidemic. Our society ignored it for too long. It's gotten its tentacles deeply into a young people, and it took a decade to get rid of," Schumer said at his New York office. "We cannot wait that long for heroin. We cannot wait till the heroin problem becomes an epidemic."
Schumer also called for the Department of Justice to "dig deep" to reallocate money to fight the surge.
Schumer said the office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor of New York City has seized 288 pounds of heroin in the first four months of this year -- more heroin than seized each year since office started keeping data on heroin-related crimes in 1991.
He also pointed to a rise in prescription drug abuse as a prime reason for heroin's growth because heroin is cheaper for get than the prescriptions
"For a while we thought the heroin surge had ended, but it's back and it's stronger than ever," he said.
He said the surge "threatens the lives of our young people. It threatens to turn our streets into hotbeds for crime and derail efforts to rebuild safe and healthy communities."
Schumer said more money is also need for treatment and rehabilitation.
The Senate Appropriations bill is scheduled to be heard on the Senate floor within a few weeks, Schumer said.