A recent report by The Washington Post uncovered that methamphetamine and heroin seizures on the Mexican border have surged in addition to a spike in cocaine usage. As a result of the opioid epidemic America has now exceeded a record number of 60,000 overdose deaths per year.
New York city alone tallied roughly 1,400 fatal overdose deaths in 2016. Mark Kleiman, a criminologist from New York University commented that “The technology of retail drug dealing has shifted radically, especially over the past 10 years. It’s no longer people standing on street corners. It’s hand-to-hand transactions between people with cell phones, and they’re not vulnerable in the same way. It’s also harder for police to disrupt.” As a result of digital technology, narcotic officers have learnt to monitor online behaviour. John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York seized close to 80 fentanyl shipments in 2017, a threefold increase on 2016.
Speaking of the ongoing crisis, President Trump stated that the 1960s drug culture is nothing in comparison to what the country is currently facing. A speech delivered by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Pittsburgh highlighted his two signature issues on violent crime and the opioid epidemic. The speech comes after he had implemented a stricter sentencing policy for importing, distributing, manufacturing, or illegally possessing fentanyl.
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