"Over the past several years, the nation has seen an uptick in the use and abuse of opioids--both prescription substances and non-prescription substances such as heroin. The estimated number of individuals who had used heroin was 914,000 in 2014. Further, about 586,000 individuals (0.2% of the 12 and older population) had a heroin use disorder in 2014. In addition to an increase in heroin use over the past several years, there has been a simultaneous increase in its availability in the United States. This has been fueled by a number of factors, including increased production and trafficking of heroin--principally by Mexican criminal networks. […] Going forward, there are a number of issues policymakers may consider as they address the issue of heroin trafficking. For instance, what is known about drug trafficking is contingent on data surrounding poppy cultivation, heroin production, and product inflows into the United States. Given that these are often based on snapshots of knowledge from disparate sources, Congress may question the collection and adequacy of these data. In addition, Congress may examine current law enforcement efforts to maximize the dismantling and prosecution of heroin trafficking networks. Policymakers may also look at existing federal strategies on drug control, transnational crime, and Southwest border crime to evaluate whether they are able to target the current heroin trafficking threat."
CRS Report for Congress, R44599