Holder: Heroin an urgent 'public health crisis' - New York News

Holder: Heroin an urgent 'public health crisis'

Posted: Updated:

By ERIC TUCKER

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday called the increase in heroin-related deaths an "urgent and growing public health crisis" and said first responders should carry with them a drug that can reverse the effects of an overdose.

The video message posted on the Justice Department's website reflects the federal government's concern about the growing prevalence of heroin and prescription painkillers. The number of overdose deaths involving heroin increased by 45 percent between 2006 and 2010, according to White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

"Addiction to heroin and other opiates, including certain prescription pain-killers, is impacting the lives of Americans in every state, in every region, and from every background and walk of life — and all too often, with deadly results," Holder said in the message.

His public support for an antidote that could be used to rescue overdosing drug users mirrors the position of the White House drug policy office, which has also urged all first responders to have the medication on hand. At least 17 states and the District of Columbia allow naloxone — commonly known by the brand name Narcan — to be distributed to the public, and bills are pending in some states to increase access to it.

Advocates say Narcan, which comes in a spray and injectable form, has the potential to save many lives if administered within a certain window. But critics fear that making the antidote too accessible could encourage drug use.

Holder said law enforcement is combatting the overdose problem, including by cutting off the supply chain that illicitly furnishes prescription painkillers to drug addicts. But he said more work is needed to prevent and treat drug addiction.

"Confronting this crisis will require a combination of enforcement and treatment. The Justice Department is committed to both," he said.

Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, a group that advocates against what it sees as "the excesses" of the war on drugs, said in addition to promoting broader access to Narcan, the Justice Department should also back better education about heroin abuse and promote "Good Samaritan" laws that protect from prosecution individuals who call police to report an overdose.

____

Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • New Jersey sues over Florida pizza shop logo

    New Jersey sues over Florida pizza shop logo

    The New Jersey Turnpike Authority wants a Florida pizza shop to pay a big toll for using a logo similar to the iconic Garden State Parkway's green and yellow signs.
    The New Jersey Turnpike Authority wants a Florida pizza shop to pay a big toll for using a logo similar to the iconic Garden State Parkway's green and yellow signs.
  • Some StubHub accounts breached

    Some StubHub accounts breached

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 4:34 PM EDT2014-07-23 20:34:20 GMT
    Six people were indicted Wednesday in an international ring that managed to take over more than 1,000 StubHub users' accounts and fraudulently buy tickets to such prime events as Jay-Z and Elton John concerts, a New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox game and Broadway shows like "The Book of Mormon," the Manhattan district attorney said. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said the thieves would then resell the tickets and split up the proceeds.
    Six people were indicted Wednesday in an international ring that managed to take over more than 1,000 StubHub users' accounts and fraudulently buy tickets to such prime events as Jay-Z and Elton John concerts, a New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox game and Broadway shows like "The Book of Mormon," the Manhattan district attorney said. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said the thieves would then resell the tickets and split up the proceeds.
  • FAA extends ban on U.S. flights to Tel Aviv

    FAA extends ban on U.S. flights to Tel Aviv

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 4:18 PM EDT2014-07-23 20:18:55 GMT
    The Federal Aviation Administration has extended the ban on U.S. carriers from flying to Tel Aviv for another 24 hours. Word came from the FAA at about 12:40 pm. on Wednesday, 24 hours after it issued its initial ban to Israel and following a rocket launch from Gaza that landed near the Ben Gurion airport.
    The Federal Aviation Administration has extended the ban on U.S. carriers from flying to Tel Aviv for another 24 hours. Word came from the FAA at about 12:40 pm. on Wednesday, 24 hours after it issued its initial ban to Israel and following a rocket launch from Gaza that landed near the Ben Gurion airport.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices