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Our nation is in the midst of an opioid addiction crisis. As a response, the DEA 360 Strategy takes an innovative three-pronged approach to combating heroin/opioid use through law enforcement, diversion control and community outreach.

Prevent Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse



St. Louis 360 PSA (2016)

200% rise in drug-related overdose deaths over the last decade in St. Louis (Source: DEA St. Louis Division Intelligence) Watch.

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Classroom Resources for Educators

The DEA and Discovery Education have teamed up to launch Operation Prevention, a program geared towards fighting opioid misuse among young people. Their site includes interactive K-12 lessons, virtual field trips, resources for parents and more. Go to Operation Prevention's website.

opioids quiz graphic

How Much Do You Know?

Test your knowledge about opioids by taking this quiz.


High levels of Controlled Prescription Drug (CPD) abuse are contributing to increased heroin use.

Increased demand for, and use of, heroin is being driven by both increasing availability of heroin in the U.S. market and by some controlled prescription drug (CPD) abusers using heroin.  After the 2010 reformulation of the commonly abused prescription opioid OxyContin®, which made it difficult to inhale or inject, some people who abused OxyContin® migrated to heroin for access to a potent injectable drug. This phenomenon is contributing to the increase in heroin use in the United States.[1]

Heroin trafficking is a significant contributor to both the rising homicide numbers and the increasing prevalence of violent crime.  The greater St. Louis area has experienced an explosive growth in heroin availability and purity, geographical presence, number of users, and overdose deaths.[2] 

[1](U) U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, DEA Intelligence Report, National Heroin Threat Assessment Summary; April 2015.

[2] DEA St. Louis Division Intelligence





    • The vast majority of teens do not use heroin. In a 2018 national survey, only 0.4% of 12th graders used heroin in the past year.[1] 
    • 96.4 percent of 12th graders disapprove of taking heroin occasionally.[1]
    • About 165,000 young people between 18 to 25 reported having a heroin use disorder in the past year.[2]


    • Prescription opioid analgesics, specifically those containing oxycodone and hydrocodone, are the most common types of prescription drugs that are diverted for misuse and abused.
    • Each day in the United States, over 192 people die as a result of a drug overdose.[3] 
    • In 2017, an estimated 3.2 million people (aged 12 or older) reported current misuse of pain relievers.[4]  
    • 53% of nonmedical users (12 years or older) reported receiving the prescription drugs they most recently used “from a friend or relative for free.”[5] 
    Fentanyl Crystals and Pills_bigger.jpg


    • Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine.
    • Drug deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (which includes fentanyl) increased almost 47% from 2016 to 2017.[6]
    young heroin user


    Explore common misconceptions about opioids through the voices of teens. Go to Operation Prevention.

    1 Source: University of Michigan, 2018 Monitoring the Future Study. View source here.

    2 Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, September 2018.  View source here.

    3 Source: Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2013–2017. View source here.

    4 Source: Prescription Drug Use and Misuse in the United States: Results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, September 2018.  View source here.

    5 Source: Rudd RA, Seth P, David F, Scholl L. Increases in Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2010–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 16 December 2016. View source here.

    6 Source: “Fentanyl: Illicitly-made fentanyl use is on the rise." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. View source here.



    After using heroin once, Jordan died.  He was a good kid, a happy kid, a kid that was going through a rough moment and his bad choice and the company he kept that night was a recipe for his death. Read more.

    Find Treatment

    More people seek treatment for heroin use than for any other illicit drug, except marijuana.

    The decline in the number of treatment admissions to publicly funded facilities for abuse of controlled prescription drugs (CPD) can likely be attributed to the increase of (CPD) abusers using heroin. Many abusers, when unable to obtain or afford CPDs, begin using heroin, a cheaper alternative that offers similar physiological effects.

    Medications are available to treat heroin addiction while reducing drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms, improving the odds of achieving abstinence. There are now a variety of medications that can be tailored to a person’s recovery needs while taking into account co-occurring health conditions.  

    Source: National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), Research Report Series:  Heroin, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services | National Institutes of Health


    Find substance abuse treatment facilities in your area.  

    Get involved!  Join a coalition or volunteer with a partnering organization. 

    Local/State Partners

    Alliance for Healthy Communities

    The Alliance for Healthy Communities (AHC) exists to take health prevention efforts to a new level. AHC is to be the center point for building collaborative partnerships through which innovative programs can be delivered that will (a) change community conditions that enable poor health and (b) engage more of our youth in meaningful roles within their schools and communities.

    Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks

    Elks invest in their communities through programs that help children grow up healthy and drug-free, meet the needs of today’s veterans, and improve the quality of life.

    Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis

    The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis (BGCSTL) is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. 

    Bridgeway Behavioral Health

    Bridgeway Behavioral Health, Inc. is a private, not-for-profit organization that was founded on February 14th, 1978 as Family Alcohol and Drug Counseling Services, Inc to serve clients in need of outpatient substance abuse treatment services. 

    CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America)

    The mission of CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) is to strengthen the capacity of community coalitions to create and maintain safe, healthy and drug-free communities globally.  

    CRUSH Coalition of St. Charles

    C.R.U.S.H (Community Resources United to Stop Heroin) is an initiative established May 2015 by the Office of St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar. The initiative involves schools, law enforcement, treatment providers, community leaders and health care organizations to address the growing heroin epidemic.

    DEA Youth Dance Program

    The DEA Youth Dance Program was established to empower kids by providing a free and positive afterschool alternative to drugs through the fun, healthy, and expressive art form of dance.

    Jordan’s Place

    Jordan's Place is a community supported recreational facility for teens and is a safe place for youth to socialize in a supervised environment.

    Moolah Shriners

    The Shriners are a brotherhood of men dedicated to fun and fellowship but with a serious purpose.

    National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse - St. Louis Area (NCADA)

    NCADA works to reduce or prevent the harms of alcohol and other drug use through education, intervention and advocacy.

    Rockwood Drug-Free Coalition

    Rockwood Drug-Free Coalition provides leadership, education and resources to prevent and address substance use among youth.

    SSM Health

    SSM Health is a Catholic not-for-profit health system serving the comprehensive health needs of communities across the Midwest through a robust and fully integrated health care delivery system. 

    St. Louis City Department of Health

    The Department of Health is responsible for the health and safety of the community.

    St. Louis College of Pharmacy

    Founded in 1864, St. Louis College of Pharmacy is the third-oldest and 10th-largest college of pharmacy in America. For more than 150 years, the College has been preparing students for expert practice and leadership in pharmacy and health professions careers.

    St. Louis County Department of Public Health

    The Saint Louis County Department of Public Health regularly assesses the health and environment of the county and responds with sound policies that help assure the availability of high quality public health services for everyone.


    Below is a list of Local organizations that provide services to the public regarding addiction, community empowerment, drug education and prevention, drug take-back programs, recovery, and overall health and wellness. 


    Jordan's Place  

    Jordan’s Place is a non-profit organization serving Warren County, which offers a community gathering facility directed at providing positive alternative activities for area youth. Our mission is to end substance abuse, bullying, depression, stress/anxiety, suicide, violence, teen pregnancy and the many other challenges facing youth today. Jordan’s Place believes in changing individual, institutional and societal beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate these issues. We provide comprehensive and innovative programs that serve area youth and their families.  


    NCADA works to reduce or prevent the harms of alcohol and other drug use through education, intervention and advocacy. One of the NCADA’s major goals is to teach young people the skills needed to resist the pressures to use and abuse drugs.  We offer proven, evidence- and best-practices-based curricula for every grade from K-12 in nearly 300 schools in the region.

    Walking for Wellness:  Stop Heroin 

    Walking for Wellness: Stop Heroin was founded in memory of Nicky Vigna, who died of a heroin overdose on January 3, 2013. Nicky struggled with heroin addiction for three years, and left behind family and friends who miss her every day. Stop Heroin's mission is to educate the community on the dangers of heroin, and prevent initiation of use.

    If you want to get involved in the DEA 360 Strategy you can start by educating yourself on the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic that is spreading in St.Louis, and then share what you have learned with your family, friends, community, neighbors, etc.

    Join a coalition or volunteer with a partnering organization. 

    Start a coalition in your community.

    Properly dispose of prescription drugs. 

    If you have prescription drugs that have expired or you no longer need you can deposit them into prescription drop-off boxes located in your community

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