News and Press Releases


March 2, 2011

Today, United States Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton announced a unique opportunity being offered to hone the skills of those individuals involved in the investigation and prosecution of drug overdose cases resulting in death. The training program will be hosted by Madison County State’s Attorney Thomas Gibbons and presented by the United States Attorney’s Office in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration and its Headquarters unit overseeing pharmaceutical-related investigations and regulations, and the Madison County Coroner’s Office.

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, prescription drugs account for the second most commonly abused category of drugs, behind marijuana and ahead of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs. Opiate overdoses, once almost always due to heroin use, are now increasingly due to abuse of prescription painkillers.

United States Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton made this statement: “Federal agencies are coordinating with State and Local agencies to combat this emerging problem. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois has recently prosecuted eight separate cases which have charged distribution of a controlled substance, resulting in death. The sentence for violating this statute can range from not less than 20 years in prison to life imprisonment. This Office will vigorously seek and prosecute individuals associated with drug overdoses. We need the communities’ support and the support of federal, state and local authorities to address this problem.”

Topics to be covered in the training include the focus of the DEA Diversion Program including a tactical diversion briefing, internet pharmaceutical diversion, pain management, emerging trends in pharmaceutical use and abuse, overdose crime scene processing, post mortem toxicology and state and federal approaches to the prosecution of overdose-related deaths.

The training will be held in the Madison County Board Room, Administration Building in Edwardsville, Illinois, on March 30 and 31, 2011. The objective of this training will be to enable every stakeholder in drug abuse death investigations to recognize and identify the current methods of diversion and to determine and implement the investigative process that can be used for overall success in the prosecution of these types of cases.





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