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Friday, September 16, 2016

Department of Justice to Launch Inaugural National Heroin and Opioid Week

Attorney General Lynch will Travel to Lexington, Kentucky as Part of the Justice Department’s Awareness Campaign to Address the Rising Public Health Crisis of Drug Addiction

Picture from FTM media partner, WCPO. 
The Obama Administration is announcing a “week of action” to raise awareness about the rising public health crisis caused by drug overdoses.  As part of this effort, the Department of Justice designated the week of Sept.18-23, 2016, as National Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week.  Senior Department of Justice officials, members of the President’s Cabinet and other federal agencies will hold events focused on the work being done to address the national prescription opioid and heroin epidemic.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch will travel to Lexington, Kentucky on TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2016, to hold a youth town hall at a local high school; meet with parents who have lost their children due to overdoses and now belong to the Heroin Education Action Team (H.E.A.T.); and deliver a policy speech regarding the actions and resources the Justice Department is bringing to bear on this issue.

“The heroin and opioid epidemic is one of the most urgent law enforcement and public health challenges facing our country,” said Attorney General Lynch.  “Through National Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week, the Department of Justice seeks to raise awareness and prevent new victims from succumbing to addiction; to highlight the department’s ongoing commitment to holding accountable traffickers and others responsible for this epidemic; and to help provide treatment to those grappling with addiction.  To be successful in this important endeavor, we need the help of all our federal, tribal, state and local partners.  In the months ahead, we will continue working to erase this scourge from our communities and to ensure a brighter future for all Americans.”

National Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week will reinforce the Justice Department’s three-fold approach to the opioid and heroin epidemic:  1) prevent further tragedies by raising awareness regarding the Opioid and Heroin epidemic; 2) focus on enforcement priorities and highlight best practices; and 3) deploy resources for treatment.  As part of the initiative, over 70 U.S. Attorneys around the country have already committed to doing over 160 different events around the country and over 90 events are planned at Bureau of Prison (BOP) facilities.
As part of the National Heroin and Opioid Week of action, the Attorney General is expected to announce a new strategy memo directed to the department that focuses on the three-fold prevention, enforcement, treatment approach to combatting the opioid epidemic.  Earlier today, the President issued a proclamation designating September 18-23, 2016, as Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week.

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