White House Program to Aim at Combating Rise in Heroin Deaths

With a rise nationally in fatal heroin overdoses, the White House on Monday will announce a plan pairing law enforcement officials with public health workers in an effort to emphasize treatment rather than prosecution of addicts, the Washington Post said.

Citing two senior officials, the newspaper reported on Sunday that the program would initially be funded for $2.5 million by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and cover 15 states.

The plan would focus on tracing the sources of heroin, where a deadly opiate additive blamed for a rising share of recent overdose deaths is being added and who is distributing the drug to dealers, the newspaper said.

The Post said the initiative came in reaction to a sharp increase in heroin use and deaths, particularly in New England and other Northeastern states, which will be covered in the plan.