John C. Rafferty Jr., candidate for Pennsylvania Attorney General, today unveiled his “multi-pronged strategy” to fight heroin trafficking and heroin abuse in Pennsylvania.
Rafferty’s plan centers around the creation of a Heroin Strike Force within the Office of Attorney General to provide training for law enforcement personnel and improved coordination between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. He would also expand treatment programs for those addicted to heroin and promote public awareness through a statewide campaign emphasizing the “deadly dangers of heroin abuse.”
“There is no question we have a deadly heroin epidemic in Pennsylvania,” Rafferty said. “Our young people are dying every day. As I travel the state I can categorically tell you the devastation of heroin affects every community -- from Erie to Philadelphia, from Green County to Pike County, and everywhere in between.”
Rafferty cited recent reports by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) that show a growing threat from heroin in the United States, particularly in the Northeast.
“The DEA says heroin is available in larger quantities, used by a larger number of people, and is causing an increasing number of overdose deaths,” he said. “Specifically in Pennsylvania, the DEA found that more than half of the nearly 2,500 overdose deaths in 2015 involved heroin. We must get serious; we must have a common-sense plan that saves lives.”
Pledging to “leave no stone unturned” in the fight to stop heroin abuse in our Commonwealth,” Rafferty outline a strategy that includes three interconnected elements:
-- A Heroin Strike Force comprised of highly training Bureau of Narcotics Investigation agents, drug prosecutors and intelligence analysts who would work together to target mid-to-upper-level drug dealers. The task force would work closely with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to identify out-of-state sources and coordinate efforts to investigate, prosecute and jail heroin traffickers.
-- Enhanced training for police agencies and better coordination between law enforcement and prosecutors at all levels of government for improved intelligence collection, interdiction and prosecution of cases.
-- A heavy emphasis on treatment for individuals addicted to heroin, a public education campaign to increase awareness and education programs in schools to teach young people how deadly heroin can be.
“I pledge that, as Attorney General, I will work day and night against this devastating epidemic,” Rafferty said. “My multi-pronged plan to fight the heroin epidemic in Pennsylvania is sorely needed. We must get serious.”