WASHINGTON, D.C. (WPVI) --America's heroin & opioid problem has become such a problem that the department of homeland security is getting involved in the fight.
This is according to the Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly.
He says heroin and opioid trafficking is contributing to the larger threat to the United States, from criminal networks and terrorist organizations.
So he is targeting that trade.
In a speech at George Washington University, Kelly said those organizations are making a lot of money from America's drug problems.
And the 52-thousand people who died in 2015 from drugs is staggering.
"It's, in a single year, we've lost nearly as many Americans to drug overdoses as we lost in the entire WWI. It's almost as many as we lost in 12 years of fighting in Vietnam. And that's just overdose deaths. That number, as high as it is, says nothing about the long-term health damage to our citizens who survive," Kelly told the audience.
Kelly promised to continue using drug possession and distribution, including marijuana, to build the case for deporting illegal aliens.
In his wide-ranging speech, Kelly also promised a border crackdown on marijuana, which is illegal under federal law but legal under state law in eight states and the District of Columbia.
Kelly appeared to backtrack somewhat from comments in an interview with NBC's Meet the Press that aired Sunday.
Kelly said in that interview that the solution to drug problems in the United States was not "not arresting a lot of users. The solution is a comprehensive drug demand reduction program in the United States that involves every man and woman of good will."