New York Is a Major Heroin Hub for Drug Traffickers

By Victoria Kim 03/17/15

New York has been the source for 20% of the country's heroin seizures since 2010.

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The “flood” of heroin flowing in-and-out of New York City reached a new high in 2014, making it the “nation’s most significant” hub in a surging heroin trade, fueled by demand along the East Coast.

In 2014, authorities seized 750 pounds of heroin—three times the amount normally found in New York City in a year, said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan at a City Council Public Safety Committee hearing last week.

Brennan asked for more funding at the hearing, to combat rising heroin trafficking as well as fatal overdoses.

New York State has been the source for 20% of heroin seized in the United States since 2010, most of it funneled through the Bronx and Upper Manhattan. Last year, the New York Times reported that roughly 35% of heroin seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration nationwide between October 2013 and May 2014 was confiscated by agents in New York State.

With more heroin flooding the city, there are inevitably more overdoses, some of them fatal. In 2013, there were 420 New Yorkers who died of heroin overdoses, according to the Department of Health statistics. This accounted for 54% of all drug deaths in the city.

Nationwide, drug overdose deaths involving heroin nearly tripled between 1999 and 2012, according to a CDC report released last year.

In an effort to “push back” against heroin use, New York State began airing public service announcements in movie theaters last year featuring testimonials from recovering users about how their heroin use affected their lives.

This month, the New York Senate passed legislation that would make selling heroin to those under 14 a felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr