Lately, much attention has been brought to the plight that is heroin addiction here in the United States, with much unfortunate thanks going to the death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who died of a heroin overdose last month.
The attention to heroin addiction is much-needed: Heroin abuse is the fastest-growing addiction in the United States, with first time abusers increasing 60% over the last decade and heroin-related deaths increasing 45 percent over the past four or five years.
One United States Senator is fed up with such abuse and has decided to propose legislation to combat the issue: Chuck Schumer.
Schumer is a Democratic Senator from the state of New York. Wednesday, Schumer announced plans to create a new program called DrugStat that would be a state-wide database tracking heroin and other drug-related statistics such as crime, overdoses, hospital admissions, and deaths.
“The victims of heroin use are too often our kids, full of potential, whose lives are altered in an instant by these terrible and addictive drugs. More must be done to curtail the spike in heroin use and other drugs, and rescue more New York residents from the bane of drug addiction,” stated Schumer in his address.
Last year, heroin claimed the lives of 65 people in New York alone - more than double the 29 deaths reported in 2012.
Drug abuse is not the only aspect of Schumer's platform, though. Lately, Schumer has become more and more outspoken against immigrant deportation. Schumer's latest statements on immigration reform calls for President Obama to halt deportation for certain populations of immigrants:
“We remain focused on passing a balanced immigration bill that secures our borders and fixes a broken system. But if the House recesses in September without passing immigration reform, in October the administration should stop deporting hard-working and law-abiding people who would be covered by the Senate bill.”
Schumer wishes to only deport those who are convicted felons, repeat offenders, or came to the United States after January 1, 2012. He makes the third member of the Gang of Eight to speak out against deportation within the past week.
Obama's deportation practices have earned him the label of "deporter-in-chief" from the National Council of La Raza, the nation's largest Latino-advocacy group.
President Obama himself spoke on his opinion of the label in a town-hall program sponsored by two of the largest Hispanic television broadcasters, Telemundo and Univision: “I am the champion-in-chief of comprehensive immigration reform. What I’ve said in the past remains true: Until Congress passes a new law I am constrained in what I can do.”
Schumer and the rest of the Gang of Eight hope that those constraints on the President's powers over deportation practices lessens soon.
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