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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
November 21, 2002

Enforcement Effort and Public Education Keys to Success

On Thursday, November 21st, DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson will announce "Operation X-Out," a national club and predatory drug initiative at a news conference followed by a town-hall meeting in San Diego, CA. The initiative is designed to engage the public on the dangers of these drugs, as well as increase enforcement operations on what has become a critical national and international drug problem.

"The explosive use of Ecstasy and predatory drugs among our youth is fast reaching epidemic levels. Unscrupulous dealers and promoters are marketing Ecstasy, Rohypnol, GHB, Ketamine and other lesser known drugs to individuals who, all too often, do not truly understand their potentially devastating effects," Hutchinson said. "Not only is the DEA targeting these traffickers, we're also reaching out to communities in an unprecedented way to get them involved."

Ecstasy is one of the most significant drug threats facing America's young people today. Its popularity and emergency room visits associated with its use have mushroomed in the past few years. The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) estimates that nationwide hospital emergency room mentions for Ecstasy rose dramatically from 637 in 1997 to 5,542 in 2001.

DEA's new, multi-faceted initiative will focus on identifying and dismantling organizations that are producing and distributing club and predatory drugs in the U.S. and abroad. To accomplish this DEA will:

  • double the number of club and predatory drug investigations across the country
  • enhance airport interdiction task forces at specific airports
  • create three task forces in South Florida
  • utilize our twenty-one Mobile Enforcement Teams
  • increase DEA resources in the Netherlands
  • form an Internet task force to coordinate investigations targeting E-drug traffickers

DEA will also team up with anti-drug coalitions like the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, the medical community, and state legislators, such as the National Foundation of Women Legislators, to engage and educate the public on the dangers of these drugs.

"DEA is committed to fashioning local solutions to our national drug problem. By bringing all shareholders -- parents, students, teachers, physicians and treatment professionals -- together with law enforcement authorities, we will forge solutions at the grass roots level," Hutchinson added.

The town-hall meeting will feature a discussion between local residents and a panel of local and national experts. The panel in San Diego will include Mr. Hutchinson, DEA Dangerous Drugs and Chemical Section Chief Dennis Wichern, Judi Clark from the Samantha Reid Foundation, San Diego County Medical Examiner Brian Blackbourne, San Diego Chief of Police David Bejarano, and a student from San Diego State University who will discuss how the younger generation views this new wave of drugs. The campaign can be replicated and customized in communities across the nation.

"In addition to those drugs intentionally abused by individuals, there is an increasing trend towards the use of drugs like GHB and Rohypnol, which can be used by predators to facilitate sexual assault, domestic abuse, and other violent crimes," Hutchinson added.

If you have questions or need further information, contact Special Agent Will Glaspy at DEA's Office of Public Affairs at 202-307-7977, or visit our web site at www.dea.gov to learn more about Ecstasy and predatory drugs.

Click here for more information on Ecstasy and Predatory Drugs>>


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