The United States is facing a huge heroin epidemic, according to the director of the FBI James Comey.
On Wednesday, Comey, along with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), addressed a large crowd at an opioid summit in Virginia and said Mexico is fueling the drug problem.
Cartels are pouring a “highly, highly pure” form of heroin into the U.S. market, Comey said, according to Fox News, while addressing the problem and its immediate need for action.
“We cannot arrest our way out of this problem,” Comey said.
Comey said cartels are selling the drug at an extremely low price and constantly increasing overall production. According to Fox News, the DEA reports production in Mexico grew 160 percent from 2013 to 2014, and from 2014 to 2015 it increased 64 percent.
“Drug trafficking is a business and when you reduce costs of transportation, you’re able to lower the price and increase the purity,” Comey said.
Comey informed the crowd that most heroin users start with prescription medications and that abuse of painkillers like Oxycodone is on the rise in the U.S., as well.
“Sometimes we use words like ‘epidemic’ or ‘unprecedented’ or ‘historic’ in ways that are not really accurate,” DEA acting administrator Chuck Rosenberg said. “This is unprecedented. This is an epidemic.”
According to Fox News, this statement is supported by data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which shows prescription and illicit opioids, like heroin, accounting for 33,091 overdose deaths in 2015.
Other local health officials weighed in at the summit, providing their own data that shows major increases in opioid overdose deaths.
“Our job is to try to crack down on the supply, literally, to be very blunt, to drive up the price to make it less and less attractive for people who are addicted to pills to move to heroin,” Comey said.
In doing so, Fox reports the first goal of the FBI and DEA is to put a target on international cartels.
H/T: Fox News
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