Schumer calls for funding to combat heroin problem in Capital Region

ALBANY, N.Y. – Some people say the “Heroin Highway”, which winds from New York City up to the Capital Region and into Vermont, has turned the area into a hub for heroin.

Senator Charles Schumer has added to the sense of urgency about the heroin highway, calling on his fellow lawmakers for an emergency surge of federal dollar to help tackle the problem.

Schumer called for $100 million of federal anti-drug trafficking funding on Monday at the Albany County Court House. This funding is reserved for high intensity drug trafficking areas like Albany.

“Think of it as a zone defense against drug trafficking,” said Schumer.

The “HIDTA” Program, which stands for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, would help law enforcement track dealers and trafficking. One of those area is Albany, says Schumer and the program could help cut off the supply.

“An increase in one hundred million will bring HIDTA’s to 338 million and that will be for the whole country because we have become one of the centers of the pipeline,” said Schumer.

Schumer hopes to get the funding as part of the upcoming appropriations process. He also is calling for $6 million that he says is owed to Albany County. That money was seized during criminal cases and it is currently being held up by red tape, says the senator.

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple had a table at the press conference on Monday, filled with bags of heroin.

“That’s the stuff, folks, that’s the stuff right there that’s killing our kids,” said Apple.

And no one knows that better than Patty Farrell, whose daughter died of a heroin overdose last year.

“Just watching her was a nightmare,” recalled Farrell.

Schumer says there is also new legislation for providing treatment. He said you just can’t enforce the law, you need to treat those who suffer with addiction.

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