More people were killed last year by drug overdoses than traffic accidents. An American dies from a drug overdose every nine minutes. President Trump recently declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. In a press release issued today, Attorney General Sessions and Acting DEA Administrator Patterson announced three new law enforcement initatives to address the opioid crisis at a press conference today:
COPS Anti-Heroin Task Force Grants and Anti-Meth Program
The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office is awarding a total of $7.19 million in FY 2017 funding through the Anti-Heroin Task Force Program (AHTF). AHTF provides two years of funding directly to law enforcement agencies in states with high per capita levels of primary treatment admissions for heroin and other opioids. This funding will support the location or investigation of illicit activities related to the distribution of heroin or the unlawful distribution of prescription opioids.
The COPS Office will also award a total of $5.03 million in FY 2017 funding through the COPS Anti-Methamphetamine Program (CAMP). The state agencies receiving funding today have demonstrated numerous seizures of precursor chemicals, finished methamphetamine, laboratories, and laboratory dump seizures. State agencies will be awarded two years of funding through CAMP to support the investigation of illicit activities related to the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine.
The complete list of Anti-Heroin Task Force Program (AHTF) award recipients, including funding amounts, can be found here. https://cops.usdoj.gov/Default.asp?Item=2892
The complete list of COPS Anti-Methamphetamine Program (CAMP) award recipients, including funding amounts, can be found here. https://cops.usdoj.gov/Default.asp?Item=2893
Establishment of DEA Louisville Field Division
The DEA will establish the Louisville Field Division – its 22nd division office in the United States – on Jan. 1, 2018. It will include Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia. This action converts the existing Louisville District Office into a field division in an effort to enhance DEA enforcement efforts within the Appalachian mountain region and unify drug trafficking investigations under a single Special Agent in Charge. DEA anticipates that this change will produce more effective investigations on heroin, fentanyl and prescription opioid trafficking, all of which have a significant impact on the region. The division will also better align DEA with the U.S. Attorney’s Office districts in those areas, similar to current ATF and FBI offices, and also to the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program.
The Louisville Division will be led by Special Agent in Charge D. Christopher Evans, who comes from the Detroit Field Division where he served as Associate Special Agent in Charge.
Designation of Opioid Coordinators
Every U.S. Attorney will designate an Opioid Coordinator by the close of business on Dec. 15, 2017. Each USAO Opioid Coordinator will be responsible for facilitating intake of cases involving prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl; convening a task force of federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement to identify opioid cases for federal prosecution, facilitate interdiction efforts, and tailor their district’s response to the needs of the community it serves; providing legal advice and training to AUSAs regarding the prosecution of opioid offenses; maintaining statistics on the opioid prosecutions in the district; and developing and continually evaluating the effectiveness of the office’s strategy to combat the opioid epidemic.
The Attorney General’s memo to United States Attorneys can be viewed here. https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1014491/download
The Training Division provides resources on controlled substance offenses here.