Jacob Sullum on Chuck Schumer's Bogus Heroin Cure

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Office of Chuck Schumer

Last month Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) asked for "an emergency $100 million surge" in federal funding "to quickly combat the fact that New York City has become the hotbed for the East Coast heroin trade." Schumer declared that "heroin trafficking and usage are at epidemic levels," adding that "seizures of heroin in New York City in 2014 have already surpassed those of any previous year since 1991, which demonstrates an alarming trend that we must nip in the bud."

Depending on how you define epidemic, says Jacob Sullum, you may or may not agree with Schumer's description of the problem. But it is abundantly clear from a century of efforts to suppress the heroin trade that Schumer's solution—more spending on supply-side measures such as seizing heroin and prosecuting heroin dealers—is doomed to fail.

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