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Drug charges on the increase after more heroin overdoses

There has been an increase in large-quantity heroin busts in New York. These include huge heroin seizures by the task force in New York City and also a number of busts on the upstate highways, all leading to drug charges. Part of the reason for the upswing in arrests is due to the growth recently in the numbers of deaths from heroin overdoses in the Lower Hudson Valley.

According to the DEA, seizures of heroin have almost quadrupled since 1996. Additionally, the federal government has designated Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties as High Intensity Drug Traffic Areas. Despite the continuing efforts to wage the war on drugs, enforcement activities do not appear to curtail to any degree the continuing increase in the use and dissemination of heroin.

The war on drugs criminalizes the problem to an excessive degree, resulting in the incarceration of drug addicts by the tens of thousands in both federal and state institutions. The culture of reinforcement of criminality is a basic dynamic that these addicts learn in the prison systems. By investing more resources in treatment and rehabilitation rather than enforcement, the war on drugs could take on a more effective approach.  

One particularly questionable tactic being used in New York to crack down on heroin offenses is the reported increase in traffic stops on the New York thruway. Troopers say that they pull over vehicles where there is speeding or smoking marijuana. How they can determine the smoking of marijuana prior to pulling over the vehicle seems questionable. If there is no reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or criminality of some sort, the police cannot stop a vehicle.

The prospect of increased random stops looms as a possibility under the circumstances. These are improper stops where the police may tend to create their reasons after the fact. Defense counsel in New York are vigilant in questioning police procedures whenever there is a traffic stop resulting in drug charges.

Source: lohud.com, "Heroin arrests skyrocket as drug crisis grips region", Thane Grauel, Oct. 14, 2014

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