(WBNG Binghamton) U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced government officials plan to meet in order to create the first-ever heroin tracking database.
Schumer said the database will be used to further combat the heroin crisis and other drug-related crimes in New York State.
Law enforcement has consistently said the lack of accessible data is a problem in combating the recent epidemic of heroin abuse.
“We need every tool in our toolbox to fight this rising tide of heroin abuse. Data and information-sharing between law enforcement is a really important one,” said Schumer.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has agreed to meet with state and local government officials to determine how to set-up this statewide sharing-database, called “DrugStat.”
The ONDCP committed to a meeting within the next 30 to 60 days, along with the Director of the NY/NJ High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).
According to Schumer, DrugStat will allow law enforcement to identify patterns, crack down on heroin rings across county lines, target resources to high-crime areas, determine which types of drugs are the most sought after and determine necessary security changes in drug distribution networks.
To help fund counties to set up their databases, Schumer pointed to possibly obtaining a grant from the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
The program helped New York City to fund a similar data-driven solution to combat drug abuse.
Schumer said the rise in prescription drug abuse is one of the main factors in the growth of heroin use, as heroin has become a cheaper, more accessible alternative to prescription narcotics.
According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, heroin seizures are up 67 percent over the past four years. Heroin charges are up as well, increasing 59 percent over the past four years.