Federal Symposium on the Prescription Drugs Epidemic Slated for Thursday in Trussville, Alabama
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama and the Trussville Police Department have joined with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to present a law enforcement training conference in Trussville on the fastest-growing drug problem in America – abuse of prescription drugs.
The day-long symposium, “Prescription Drugs: The New Crack Cocaine,” will be held Thursday, March 29, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Trussville Civic Center, 5381 Trussville-Clay Road. More than 250 members of law enforcement, from local, state and federal agencies, have registered for the training, according to Lyndon Laster, law enforcement coordination manager for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The training is presented by the DEA’s Headquarters Office of Diversion Control and its New Orleans and Dallas Field Divisions.
The number of Americans abusing controlled prescription drugs exceeds the number of Americans abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and inhalants combined. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications are the most commonly abused drugs by high school students, second only to marijuana.
Alerting front-line law enforcement and prosecutors to the widespread nature of prescription drug abuse, enabling them to identify how prescription drugs are diverted from their intended use, and implementing successful investigative strategies for crimes related to prescription drug-related crimes are goals of the training.
“The prescription drug epidemic is present in each and every state and it cannot be resolved with enforcement alone,” said Fox, who supervises a four-state region of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas for DEA. “DEA recognizes the solution involves education, enforcement and treatment. DEA’s goal is to provide education for all affected parties including law enforcement, prosecutors, educators, parents and children,” he said. “We also train DEA registrants such as physicians, clinicians and pharmacists. These training conferences provide an overview of DEA’s mission as it relates to the diversion of pharmaceuticals into the illicit market and how we are addressing the problem.”
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified prescription drug abuse as an epidemic,” said U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance. “Law enforcement, along with parents, teachers, physicians, and everyone in the community, needs to become more alert to the staggering scope of this problem. I am grateful to DEA Special Agent in Charge Jimmy Fox III and Trussville Police Chief Don Sivley for helping the U.S. Attorney’s Office bring this important training to law enforcement in Alabama.”
The symposium is available for law enforcement only. The event has reached capacity, and only those who have already registered may attend.
Space will be limited, but members of the media may attend the opening session of the symposium, from about 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. That session will include opening comments from Trussville Police Chief Sivley, U.S. Attorney Vance and DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge, New Orleans Field Division, Warren Rivera, as well as a prescription drug abuse overview presented by DEA Headquarters’ Office of Diversion Control Executive Assistant Gary Boggs.