Weekly Opioids Roundup Massive Prescription Opioid Bust Made by DOJ, HHS, Law Enforcement

Updated 16 weeks ago The White House Press Office

DOJ and HHS, together with multiple law enforcement partners, announced the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid (ARPO) Strike Force takedown. The charges involved 53 medical professionals, over 350 thousand prescriptions for controlled substances and more than 32 million pain pills.


“The opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug crisis in American history, and Appalachia has suffered the consequences more than perhaps any other region,” Attorney General William P. Barr said. “But the Department of Justice is doing its part to help end this crisis. One of the Department's most promising new initiatives is the Criminal Division's Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force, which began its work in December… I am grateful to the Criminal Division, their U.S. Attorney partners, and to the members of the strike force for this outstanding work that holds the promise of saving many lives in Appalachian communities.”


“Reducing the illicit supply of opioids is a crucial element of President Trump’s plan to end this public health crisis,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “It is also vital that Americans struggling with addiction have access to treatment and that patients who need pain treatment do not see their care disrupted, which is why federal and local public health authorities have coordinated to ensure these needs are met in the wake of this enforcement operation. The Trump Administration’s law enforcement and public health leaders will continue to work hand in hand to end this crisis that has hit Appalachia hard and steals far too many lives across America every day.”


Read the full press release HERE.



Director Carroll Joins Senator Lankford in Oklahoma

This week, ONDCP Director Carroll traveled to Oklahoma and visited research facilities, treatment and recovery centers, nonprofits, and police departments to discuss local efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. He and Senator James Lankford also hosted a Community Conversation to hear directly about the impact and challenges of the addiction crisis across the state.



HHS Launches the HEALing Communities Study


On Thursday, Secretary Azar participated in an event with HHS leadership to launch the HEALing Communities Study to help reverse our nation’s opioid crisis. This ambitious study will test an integrated community-based approach to address the opioid crisis, with a goal to decrease opioid overdose deaths by 40 percent in select communities over three years.


Participants included Secretary Azar, HHS Assistant Secretary for Health & Senior Advisor for Opioid Policy Adm. Giroir, Director of National Institutes of Health Dr. Collins, Assistant Secretary for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Dr. McCance-Katz, Kentucky Governor Bevin, people in recovery, and parents.


Watch the event HERE.



HIDTA Helps Take Down Rhode Island Drug Operation


From The Woonsocket Call in Rhode Island:


“As the result of a DEA and Rhode Island State Police High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force investigation during the summer and fall of 2017 dubbed “Operation Panamera,” more than two-dozen people were arrested and at least 23 kilograms of suspected fentanyl, 11 kilograms of cocaine, 11 kilograms of marijuana and two kilograms of psilocybin mushrooms were seized.”


Read the full story HERE.



CBP Intercepts Man with $400K in Narcotics


U.S. Border Patrol agents patrolling Interstate 15 arrested a man on Sunday who had $400,700 worth of narcotics hidden inside his vehicle. Swerving in and out of the lanes, agents initiated a vehicle stop to question the driver. The search resulted in 14 bundles of cocaine weighed 33.40 pounds and have an estimated street value of $334,000. The two bundles of black tar heroin weighed 6.39 pounds and have an estimated street value of $66,700.


Read full press release HERE.



Department of Labor Provides National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Grant to Combat Opioid Crisis in Florida


The Department of Labor announced the award of an opioid-crisis Dislocated Worker Grant (DWG) to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity for up to $2,500,000, with $833,333 released initially. This grant funding will address the workforce impacts of the opioid crisis by providing employment services to eligible individuals affected by the health and economic effects of widespread opioid use, addiction, and overdose. 


Read the full press release HERE.


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