With heroin abuse raging among young adults and in rural communities, New York's senior senator is calling for a new state-wide database to be created so local law enforcement agencies can better track the drug's use.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., says a database for heroin hospitalizations and arrests would be the first in the nation.
"The problem is that the increase in heroin abuse - it was going down for a long time, now it’s going up - so we have to catch up," Schumer told reporters Wednesday.
The database, which Schumer is calling DrugStat, would be modeled off of similar programs for other drugs.
"It’s clear to everyone in law enforcement that there is insufficient evidence and data about heroin crimes, overdoses and hospitalizations," he said. "Data and information sharing drives solutions and we’re seriously lacking in that department."
Schumer has long lobbied for tighter control of prescription drugs, like hydrocodone, which he says is a gateway to heroin.
DrugState would be set up with assistance of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Schumer said. He's also hopeful the federal government will help fund the database, which could be up and running in six months.
It would be optional for counties to take part in the database, Schumer said.