Heroin is killing more people than people in New York City, highlighting a comeback for the opiate in recent years that has many in the US worried.
In 2014 – for the second-straight year – heroin was responsible for more deaths in New York than homicide, according to the New York Daily News.
Specific numbers for 2014 are not available, but in 2013 heroin overdoses killed 420 people, compared to 335 homicides.
Authorities in New York also seized about $300 million worth of heroin in 2014, though they say that is a fraction of what is available in the biggest US city.
The New York arm of the Drug Enforcement Agency already in 2015 has snatched about 220 pounds of heroin off New York streets, about the same amount seized by the New York DEA in all of 2014.
James Hunt, special agent in charge of New York’s DEA, said that such prevalence of heroin has never been seen, even in the heroin epidemic of 1970s and 80s.
Heroin use is on the rise in the rest of the US as well, leading to more overdoses and more drug busts. In some parts of the country, drug traffickers have begun lacing heroin with fentanyl, a narcotic up to 50 times stronger than heroin.
In 2014, law enforcement agencies across the US found 3,344 heroin batches containing fentanyl, up more than 300 per cent over those discovered in 2013.