The deadliest drug on Long Island is no longer heroin – fentanyl alone killed at least 220 people in Suffolk and Nassau counties combined in 2016. Fentanyl abuse is on the rise in the U.S. and dramatically affecting us here on Long Island.
The drug oftentimes makes its way to the states directly from the labs in China which are the main producers. Mexican cartels also receive fentanyl from Chinese labs and repackage it in final products such as black tar or powder heroin before smuggling it in. According to the D.E.A. it is also being manufactured in American labs and mailed across the country. Long Island has been receiving fentanyl en masse from these sources; it arrives in its raw form, disguised as pressed prescription narcotics, or mixed with powder heroin as a cutting agent.
New legislation is being pushed through congress that could help stop fentanyl abuse on Long Island. The INTERDICT Act is a bill that is requiring the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to have more chemical screening devices readily available at airports, post offices, ports, and other locations where cargo is received. The hope is that officers will be able to detect and seize fentanyl entering the U.S., stop its movement within our borders, and trace it back to the source.
Senator Chuck Schumer has been a proponent of the bill since it was introduced in March of 2017 and is seeing it through to the end. He hopes that John F. Kennedy Airport will be one of the first locations to receive handheld chemical screening devices, stating that they would be, “A great New Year’s gift for our people in the Northeast, and particularly in New York.”
INTERDICT only needs to be signed by one more person before being passed: President Donald J. Trump. On Sunday, about a week after the bill was wrapped up and sent to President Trump, Sen. Schumer urged him, “not to delay, not to wait, just get it signed, get it done.”
Long Island’s issue with fentanyl is only growing worse and must be eradicated from the source. We hope INTERDICT and the work that our elected officials are putting in to it will do just that. To read the bill and follow its progress, click here.
Fentanyl abuse on Long Island is a serious, wide-spread, and extremely deadly problem – if you or someone you know are abusing fentanyl or other substances, please reach out for help and seek addiction treatment.