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Attorney General Eric Holder Calls Heroin Addiction ‘An Urgent And Growing Public Health Threat’

On Monday (March 10, 2014), Attorney General Eric Holder warned about the growing
scourge of opiate addiction and overdoses while urging law enforcement
officials to carry the anti-overdose drug naloxone in a video message posted to the Justice Department’s website.

“When confronting the problem of substance abuse, it makes sense to
focus attention on the most dangerous types of drugs. And right now, few
substances are more lethal than prescription opiates and heroin,” said
Holder. “It’s clear that opiate addiction is an urgent — and growing —
public health crisis. And that’s why Justice Department officials,
including the [Drug Enforcement Administration], and other key federal,
state, and local leaders, are fighting back aggressively.”

Holder noted that heroin overdose deaths rose by 45 percent between
2006 and 2010. The rise in opiate abuse has hit certain states, such as
Vermont, particularly hard. In fact, Gov. Peter Shumlin (D-VT) devoted the entirety
of his January State of the State address to shine light on his state’s
“full-blown heroin crisis.” Twice as many Vermonters died from heroin
overdoses in 2013 compared to the previous year, and the number of
people seeking opiate addiction treatment in the state has ballooned by a
staggering 770 percent since 2000.

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