Drug overdoses in Jefferson County have hit epidemic proportions. The county now has the highest amount of drug overdoses in the state of Kentucky and DEA-Louisville is launching a new program to fight this scourge of the local community.
The program is called DEA 360 and Louisville is one of just four cities in the US currently using it. DEA 360’s mission is “Working together to break the cycle of drug trafficking, drug violence, and drug abuse.” This unique structure looks at a wider spectrum of problems related to drug abuse including violence from gangs and prescription opioid abuse.
DEA 360 employs a three-prong approach which looks at the role of law enforcement, community outreach and Diversion Control in ending drug abuse. Law enforcement will coordinate its efforts to target drug cartels and gangs that supply drugs in neighborhoods. The community outreach effort will utilize local organizations and empower the community to combat the epidemic. Diversion Control is a unit within the DEA aimed at stopping unnecessary prescribing of pharmaceuticals. Its goal is to increase awareness among pharmacists, pharmaceutical companies and health professionals to ensure these powerful drugs are being legitimately prescribed.
Thomas Gorman, Assistant Special Agent in Charge stressed the importance of such a groundbreaking program. “We need to be vigilant in addressing drug trafficking organizations,” he said. The need for such a program has never been greater with the CDC estimating that there are 129 deaths in the United States each day due to drug overdoses.
According to Gorman, a task force is also being formed to build federal cases against drug traffickers based on overdose deaths. He believes this will allow officials to target upper level members of drug trafficking cartels and in turn reduce the flow of illegal drugs.
The DEA is asking the public to come forward with any information on drug dealers but added that they are not looking to arrest drug abusers.
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