Heroin addiction is killing more people than violent crimes and car accidents in some U.S. communities, according to top federal and law enforcement officials.
New York City is just one example, with 730 drug overdose fatalities in 2012. Half of those deaths were related to heroin and prescription opiates.
In Knoxville, Tenn., heroin and opiate abuse deaths outnumbered homicides 52 to 19 in 2013.
Nationwide, heroin seizures increased 87 percent between 2009 and 2013.
"The consciousness of the nation has not really focused on the problem," Attorney General Eric Holder told more than 200 law enforcement officials in a meeting Wednesday.
"People saw this more as a state and local problem. …This is truly a national problem," he said. "Standing by itself, the heroin problem is worthy of our national attention."