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U.S. Attorneys Taking On Heroin, Painkiller Abuse In Midwest

The city of Detroit has been deteriorating for quite some time. There are so many reasons for the city's decline but on that long list of reasons, the abuse of heroin and prescription painkillers is near the top. Detroit is a pipeline for heroin and prescription painkillers that feed the entire Midwest. Since Detroit is the main hub for distribution, U.S. attorneys along with law enforcement agencies are developing a strategy to fight the problem that has taken thousands of lives and reached levels of abuse that have never been seen before with no slowing in site.

Calling the illegal drug trade an epidemic, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade of Michigan and attorneys general and other law enforcement officials from six neighboring states were to meet Wednesday for a one-day anti-trafficking summit.

“We know in Michigan that we’ve seen a huge spike in prescription pill abuse and then we’ve also seen a serious resurgence in heroin as addicts turn to that as a cheaper alternative for their opioid addiction,” McQuade said. “So, that has resulted in some various significant problems in Michigan and we seem to exporting our problems to other states.”

Among the specific plans that were spoken about a day set aside each month for citizens to turn in their unused prescription medications to be properly disposed of by law enforcement. Doing this will get unused dangerous medications out of your house, especially if you have young teens who are susceptible to peer pressure. It is said time and time again that most teens who get addicted to prescription painkillers got their first pill from their parent’s medicine cabinet or from a friends. The attorneys mentioned going after drug cartels who push these drugs on the streets. Also they want to go after drug dealers who supply drugs that have led to an overdose.

The one-day summit was part of an initiative by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force program to cease the movement of drugs by professional groups and those who move heroin and prescription painkillers from Michigan and Ohio into neighboring states like Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. “We want to target the cartels that are sending those drugs through our districts. We want to talk about how we can better share information,” McQuade said.

In Wayne county there have been over 60 overdose deaths as the result of heroin and Fentanyl and the number of fatal overdoses in Oakland County have doubled from 2013 to 2014 according to local officials. Deaths attributed to opiates have increased 62% according to recent data.

“The epidemic of overdose deaths from heroin and prescription pill abuse is startling and needs to be met with an intense response by law enforcement,” said Barbara McQuade “This summit is intended to strengthen and better coordinate our efforts to disrupt heroin and pill trafficking across the region. We also seek to raise public awareness about addiction, treatment and prevention.”

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