January 28, 2016
Contact: Andree Swanson
Phone Number: (314) 538-4600
DEA Announces “360 Strategy” In St. Louis To Address Heroin, Prescription Drugs And Violent Crime
Program serves as a model for communities struggling to break cycle of drug trafficking, abuse and violence
ST. LOUIS - -The United States Drug Enforcement Administration today announced that St. Louis will be the second pilot city to be part of a comprehensive law enforcement and prevention “360 Strategy” to help cities dealing with the heroin and prescription drug abuse epidemic, and its associated violent crime. DEA St. Louis Special Agent In Charge James Shroba made the announcement with other local and federal agencies and organizations in law enforcement, pharmacology and substance abuse prevention and treatment.
“We must continue to find new and innovative ways to address the growing addiction of heroin and prescription drugs, and the violent trafficking it produces,” Shroba said. “DEA is bringing together the many agencies and organizations that deal separately with these problems into a unifying, comprehensive and sustained strategy to go after drug traffickers and make local communities resilient to their return.”
The DEA 360 Strategy comprises a three-fold approach to fighting drug traffickers:
- Provide DEA leadership - with coordinated DEA enforcement actions targeting all levels of drug trafficking organizations and violent gangs supplying drugs in our neighborhoods, as we have been doing with ongoing law enforcement operations.
- Have a long-lasting impact - by engaging drug manufacturers, wholesalers, practitioners and pharmacists to increase awareness of the heroin and prescription drug problem and push for responsible prescribing and use of these medications throughout the medical community.
- Change attitudes - through community outreach and partnership with local organizations following DEA enforcement actions to equip and empower communities with the tools to fight the heroin and prescription drug epidemic.
In November, the 360 program was launched in Pittsburgh, PA and St. Louis represents the second pilot city. “The community outreach aspect of this program is most critical to its long-term success,” Shroba said. “We have to continuing working on the most effective ways to talk about these problems in ways we’ve never done before in order to stop abuse, addiction and death.”
The 360 Strategy brings together many experts in substance abuse and prevention to addresses four key groups by engaging in dialogue, providing information and resources to educate young people about the consequences of drug abuse and trafficking:
- Parents/caregivers in the home
- Educators and the classroom
- After school organizations such as Boy and Girl Scouts and athletic associations
- The workplace.”
In the short term, the goal of the 360 strategy is to provide as much information as possible in many different forms to reach young people. Officials will work to form a “Community Alliance” that will comprise key leaders from law enforcement, prevention, treatment, the judicial system, education, business, government, civic organizations, faith communities, media, social services and others, to form the core of a long-term group that will cross disciplines to help carry the prevention and treatment messages to the local population during the critical post-operation timeframe.
In the future, DEA and its partners also plan to host multi-day summits to bring community leaders together to look for sustainable, impactful efforts to address drug abuse, addiction, trafficking and the violence that accompanies it. Other partners will include the Department of Justice Violence Reduction Network, Health and Human Services, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Centers for Disease Control, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, and many others.“DEA’s 360 Strategy recognizes that we need to utilize every community resource possible to reach young people and attack the heroin and prescription drug epidemic at multiple levels,” Shroba said. “This three-sided strategy brings together everyone who has a stake in the betterment of our local community.”