August 26, 2015
Contact: Brian McNeal
Phone Number: (571) 362-1498
U.S. Attorneys And Federal Law Enforcement Leaders Convene At Detroit Summit To Target Opiate Pain Pill And Heroin Trafficking
Opiate Overdose Epidemic also Addressed at Motor City Summit
DETROIT - United States Attorneys and leaders of federal law enforcement agencies from across six states will be meeting in Detroit on August 26, 2015, to share strategies to combat the heroin and prescription pill epidemic across the region.
The effort was announced jointly by United States Attorneys Barbara L. (Eastern District of Michigan), Kerry (Eastern District of Kentucky), Patrick A. Miles, Jr. (Western District of Michigan), Steven (Northern District of Ohio), Carter (Southern District of Ohio), John Kuhn, Jr. (Western District of Kentucky), David J. (Western District of Pennsylvania), William C. (Eastern District of Tennessee), David (Middle District of Tennessee), Edward L. (Western District of Tennessee), William Ihlenfeld, (Northern District of West Virginia), and R. Booth Goodwin, (Southern District of West Virginia), Directors of High Intensity Drug Trafficking (“HIDTA”) Abraham (Michigan), Derek (Ohio) and Frank (Appalachia), Drug Enforcement (“DEA”) Special Agents in Charge Joseph P. (Detroit Division), Karl (Washington, D.C., Division), Gary (Philadelphia Division) and Daniel (Atlanta Division), Special Agent in Charge Paul M. Abbate, Federal Bureau of (“FBI”), Detroit Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Marlon Miller, Homeland Security (“HSI”) in Detroit.
Hickton co-chairs the national Heroin Task Force.
The summit was called in response to the national epidemic of heroin and prescription pill abuse that has hit Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, particularly hard. Heroin overdose deaths in the United States have tripled from 2010 to 2013. Nationally, the number of deaths from all drug overdoses exceeded 43,000 last year, more deaths than from traffic accidents. Heroin use in the United States has doubled from 2007 to 2012.
In the Midwest, opioid deaths have increased 62 percent. Just since January 1, more than 60 people have died by overdose of heroin and fentanyl in Wayne and Washtenaw counties alone. The number of heroin overdose deaths in Oakland County doubled from 2013 to 2014. The summit seeks to target this national and regional problem by dismantling drug trafficking organizations that distribute heroin and prescription pills and by increasing prevention and educational efforts.
One of the purposes of the summit is to discuss a regional strategic initiative as part of the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force program. Under this initiative, law enforcement and prosecutors across the region will investigate and prosecute the movement of heroin and prescription pills in the region. This effort includes action by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, DEA, FBI, HSI, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and (“ATF”) and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal (“IRS-CI”). As part of the initiative, the three HIDTA programs in the (Michigan, Ohio, and Appalachia) will work with their federal, state and local partners to increase enforcement of heroin and pill trafficking and to target drug distribution that results in overdoses and deaths.
The initiative also includes a commitment by each United States Attorney to engage in district-wide anti-heroin and prescription pill programs. For example, in the Eastern District of Michigan, United States Attorney Barbara McQuade has enacted Project (Heroin, Opioid Prevention and Enforcement). Project HOPE includes the targeting of drug traffickers whose distribution results in the death or overdose of the purchasers of the drugs. Project HOPE also dedicates more resources towards prosecuting heroin and pill traffickers generally. The initiative includes educational and outreach efforts to educate the public about the dangers of heroin and prescription pill abuse.
Special Agent in Charge Joseph P. Reagan of the U.S. DEA’s Detroit Field Division, which is responsible for Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky, said, “ The DEA welcomes this opportunity to examine best practices with our law enforcement partners and coordinate enforcement efforts. Equally important to DEA is working to increase the level of public awareness regarding the dangers of prescription drug abuse, not the least of which is the very realistic path to heroin use.”