Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer made a stop in Cortland Friday to introduce legislation to help combat the fentanyl crisis. He says the bi-partisan INTERDICT Act is slated to be confirmed alongside the 2018 federal budget on October 1st and aims to combat the drug using machines called mass spectrometers.
"They can tell if this load of drugs has fentanyl as opposed to just heroin because fentanyl is so much more dangerous. They can also tell the different batches because no one is exactly alike. They can see this is part of that batch, and that's part of another batch and that's how they can trace it to which drug gangs, how they got them, and shut them down."
The drug is manufactured in China, but mostly enters the United States by way of Mexico. Schumer says the INTERDICT Act would setup mass spectrometers along the border and improve detection of fentanyl and other drugs. The drug is typically consumed in trace amounts laced in with heroin, a substance that Senator Schumer says has been making a comeback in recent years thanks to the successful war against opioids and prescription drug abuse.
"I don't know if it's true in Cortland County, but around the state, heroin addiction has exceeded prescription drug addiction. Heroin has flooded in, it's a similar high, and it's cheaper for the drug user."
Schumer says INTERDICT has been receiving bipartisan and bicameral support as more and more people realize the danger in the fentanyl.
"Our police, when they handle it, they have to be really careful because a little bit can get on your skin and actually kill you."
Schumer says between January of 2015 and September of 2016, roughly two people per day visited local hospitals in Onondaga and Cortland County to receive treatment related to opioid and heroin abuse.