DENVER (CBS4)– There is a new partnership between federal, state and local agencies. The group compares the heroin and fentanyl epidemic to a deadly viral pandemic.

They want to tackle the problem in Colorado by targeting dealers and trying to get more people into treatment.

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One member lost his son to a heroin overdose last year and points to the enormous impact on our nation.

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“When you have 64,000 dying each year because of overdoses, when it is the leading cause of death for people under the age of 50 in our country, when 85,000 kids per year are being put in foster homes because of addiction, when a baby is born every 25 minutes addicted to heroin and when its costing our nation $5.4 billion a year… we call that a national emergency not just a public health crisis,” said James Winnefeld, father of an addict.

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The organization is called SAFE which stands for Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic.

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