NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is demanding a special heroin enforcement team to help tackle opioid addiction in the Empire State.

As WCBS 880’s Myles Miller reported, 2016 was the deadliest year on record for fatal drug overdose deaths in New York City. The culprit is fentanyl, a drug that’s 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin.

“One grain that you touch can kill you,” Schumer said during a Sunday press conference.

Schumer asked the Drug Enforcement Agency to provide New York with one of four special heroin enforcement teams being formed to combat the problem. The four teams are specifically dedicated to counteracting heroin trafficking and are sent to states that report heroin as the highest drug threat.

“They’re special agents and they will work with our local police forces in New York, Long Island, the suburbs, to stop the heroin and the fentanyl from coming in,” Schumer said.

The Democrat adds that New York’s heroin overdose death rate increased by 30 percent in 2015. New data show there was an average of four overdose deaths a day in New York City alone last year. That was double the rate two years earlier. New York City also is a major distribution hub.

Schumer says more and more of the deadly synthetic is being mailed, and isn’t being intercepted by Customs and Border Protection.

Overall, 24 New York counties are considered High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More From CBS New York

Download Weather App
60 Minutes Hear It On Demand

Watch & Listen LIVE