LOS ANGELES –United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker announced today the launch of a new community outreach program to address the growing epidemic of heroin and prescription opioid abuse.
Because of the public health crisis stemming from the abuse of prescription drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin and in conjunction with the Department of Justice's recent Heroin and Opioid Awareness campaign, prosecutors and staff from the United States Attorney's Office, partner law enforcement agencies and public health officials will present programs and panel discussions to area colleges. Over the coming weeks and months, the expert team will discuss this public health threat, highlight a multi-prong approach designed to save lives, and work to reduce the terrible impact these drugs have on individuals and families.
“The increased use of heroin and opioids has infected communities from coast to coast and in many neighborhoods within our district. At the United States Attorney's Office, we are committed to stemming the flow of illegal opioids and heroin both in the courtroom and in the community,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Prosecutors in my office have targeted drug traffickers who import heroin and doctors who issue prescriptions for addictive painkillers without any medical purpose. We are working with our law enforcement colleagues to develop new strategies to investigate drug trafficking organizations that import and distribute opioids and heroin, to better track prescription drugs that may be diverted to street users, and to confront new challenges that include the increasing abuse and death rates associated with even more powerful narcotics such as fentanyl. Our enforcement efforts have helped reduce the availability of opioids on the street and have had a deterrent effect, particularly in the medical community.”
“Law enforcement agencies throughout the country are seizing record amounts of heroin and other opioids and first responders are witnessing the devastating effects of these substances in numbing proportions,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge John S. Comer. “DEA will continue to target the illicit trafficking organizations responsible for these detriments, but we're also committed to educating the public about the dangers of drug misuse and reducing demand – awareness is a crucial element in combatting this epidemic.”
Beginning this week, federal prosecutors will be joined by agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), expert physicians and public health officials on college campuses. These events are designed to educate students on the dangers of prescription drugs, the presence of counterfeit drugs, and what to do in the event of a potential overdose. Those participating in the discussion will be able to view excerpts from the FBI-produced film“Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opioid Addict,”[external link]which illustrates the harsh reality of opioid addiction. Following confirmed presentations at Occidental College, Cal State Los Angeles and Chapman University, prosecutors hope to bring the program to other campuses across the region. During these meetings, prosecutors hope to hear ideas from the members of the public on what more the Justice Department can do to combat this problem.
For further information or to schedule a presentation at your college or community organization, please contact the United States Attorney's Office at [email protected]
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USAO – California, Central Updated October 3, 2016
Central District of California DOJ / 16-234 / October 3, 2016