- Associated Press - Thursday, April 3, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) - Attorney General Eric Holder says the government needs to deal differently with the heroin epidemic than it did with the crack cocaine crisis decades ago.

Holder told a Senate committee Thursday that a “balanced approach” involving treatment, education and enforcement is needed to confront the country’s heroin crisis and avoid mistakes made during the widespread use of crack. Police at that time focused on large-scale arrests and imprisonment.

Holder says the government has a small window to prevent the heroin problem from getting “even more out of control than it already is.” He says specialize drug courts within the criminal justice system are a good way to reduce the prison population.

In a recent video message, the attorney general called the heroin epidemic an “urgent and growing public health crisis.”

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