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Press Release

Department of Justice to Launch Inaugural National Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Attorney General Lynch will Travel to Lexington, Kentucky, as Part of the Justice Department’s Awareness Campaign to Address the Rising Public Health Crisis of Drug Addiction

The Obama Administration has designated the week of Sept. 18-23, 2016, as Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week.  As part of this effort, the Department of Justice is announcing a “week of action” to raise awareness about the rising public health crisis caused by drug overdoses.  Senior Department of Justice officials, members of the President’s Cabinet and other federal agencies will hold events focused on the work being done to address the national prescription opioid and heroin epidemic.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch will travel to Lexington, Kentucky, tomorrow, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2016, to hold a youth town hall at a local high school; meet with parents who have lost their children due to overdoses and now work with the Heroin Education Action Team (H.E.A.T.); and deliver a policy speech regarding the actions and resources the Justice Department is bringing to bear on this issue.  

“The heroin and opioid epidemic is one of the most urgent law enforcement and public health challenges facing our country,” said Attorney General Lynch.  “Through Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week, the Department of Justice seeks to raise awareness and prevent new victims from succumbing to addiction; to highlight the department’s ongoing commitment to holding accountable traffickers and others responsible for this epidemic; and to help provide treatment to those grappling with addiction.  To be successful in this important endeavor, we need the help of all our federal, tribal, state and local partners.  In the months ahead, we will continue working to erase this scourge from our communities and to ensure a brighter future for all Americans.”

Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week will reinforce the Justice Department’s three-fold approach to the opioid and heroin epidemic: prevent further tragedies by raising awareness regarding the Opioid and Heroin epidemic; focus on enforcement priorities and highlight best practices; and deploy resources for treatment.  As part of the initiative, over 70 U.S. Attorneys around the country have already committed to doing over 160 different events around the country and over 90 events are planned at Bureau of Prison (BOP) facilities.

As part of the week of action, the Attorney General is expected to announce a new strategy memo directed to the department that focuses on the three-fold prevention, enforcement and treatment approach to combatting the opioid epidemic.  The President issued a proclamation designating Sept. 18-23, 2016, as Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week on Friday, Sept. 16. 

ATTORNEY GENERAL LYNCH HOSTS TOWN HALL AT MADISON CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL

WHO:           Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch

U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey of the Eastern District of Kentucky

WHEN:         TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2016

9:15 a.m. EDT

WHERE:       Madison Central High School

Auditorium

705 North 2nd St

Richmond, KY 40475

OPEN PRESS (Camera Preset: 7:30 a.m. EDT for an 8:00 a.m. EDT K9 sweep; Media Access: 8:30 a.m. EDT; Final Access: 9:00 a.m. EDT)

NOTE: All media must present government-issued photo I.D. (such as a driver’s license) as well as valid media credentials.  Members of the media must RSVP for the above events to press@usdoj.gov by Monday, Sept. 19, at 5:00 p.m. EDT.  Space is limited and not guaranteed.  Press inquiries regarding logistics should be directed to Rebecca.L.Stewart@usdoj.gov

MEDIA AVAILABILITY

WHO:           Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch

U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey of the Eastern District of Kentucky

WHEN:         TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2016

10:30 a.m. EDT

WHERE:       Madison Central High School

Lecture Lab

705 North 2nd Street

Richmond, KY 40475

OPEN PRESS (Camera Preset: 7:30 a.m. EDT for an 8:00 a.m. EDT K9 sweep; Media Access: 9:30 a.m. EDT; Final Access: 10:00 a.m. EDT)

NOTE: All cameras planning to attend the media availability must be preset in the auditorium prior to the Town Hall as there will be only one K9 sweep.  All media must present government-issued photo I.D. (such as a driver’s license) as well as valid media credentials.  Members of the media must RSVP for the above events to press@usdoj.gov by Monday, Sept. 19, at 5:00 p.m. EDT.  Space is limited and not guaranteed.  Press inquiries regarding logistics should be directed to Rebecca.L.Stewart@usdoj.gov

ATTORNEY GENERAL LYNCH DELIVERS REMARKS AT UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY

WHO:           Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch

WHEN:         TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2016

3:45 p.m. EDT

WHERE:       University of Kentucky

BioPharm Complex

Lecture Hall 124

789 S. Limestone St

Lexington, KY 40508

OPEN PRESS (Camera Preset: 2:00 p.m. EDT for a 2:30 p.m. EDT K9 sweep; Media Access: 3:00 p.m. EDT; Final Access: 3:30 p.m. EDT)

NOTE:  Media parking is available in the UK HealthCare Parking Garage, 140 Transcript Avenue, located south of the Pharmacy Building (789 South Limestone St).  All media must present government-issued photo I.D. (such as a driver’s license) as well as valid media credentials.  Members of the media must RSVP for the above events to press@usdoj.gov by Monday, Sept. 19, at 5:00 p.m. EDT.  Space is limited and not guaranteed.  Press inquiries regarding logistics should be directed to Rebecca.L.Stewart@usdoj.gov.

Senior Administration, DOJ Officials Events for National Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week of Action:

Monday, Sept. 19, 2016

Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates will visit a BOP Community Treatment Services program at the Renaissance Medical Group in Washington, D.C.  The Community Treatment Program is the final stage of BOP’s Residential Drug Abuse Program, as the inmates completing their sentences transition through Residential Reentry Centers.  This visit will highlight BOP’s efforts to provide treatment to inmates with substance abuse issues, particularly prescription and other forms of opioids.

Monday, Sept. 19, 2016

Acting Bureau of Prisons Director Thomas Kane will meet participants in a Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) at the Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland.  This event is in conjunction with other special programming created during the administration’s week of action within the 90 RDAPs around the country to help raise awareness about the severity of heroin and prescription opioid abuse.  Activities will also include presentations by mental health service providers, inmate panel discussions and observing moments of silence during community meetings for lives lost to opioid addiction.

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016

Attorney General Lynch will travel to Lexington, Kentucky to hold a student town hall at a high school, meet with H.E.A.T. parents that have lost their children to heroin abuse, and then close the day at the University of Kentucky for a policy speech on how the department is addressing the issue through prevention, enforcement and treatment.

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016

Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces Director Bruce Ohr will travel to New Mexico to hold a meeting with the leaders of three pueblo communities in the Espanola Valley, which has the highest heroin overdose death rate in the country on a per capita basis.  He will also do additional outreach meetings with tribal leaders to discuss DOJ assistance to address the heroin/opioid crisis in Indian Country and best practices for first responders to carry naloxone.

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016

Secretary of the Veteran’s Administration Robert McDonald, Principal Associate Attorney General Bill Baer, and Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli will participate in a roundtable discussion on the administration's efforts to assist our nation's veterans suffering from opioid abuse. 

Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016

Attorney General Lynch will deliver welcoming remarks prior to a screening of the “Chasing the Dragon” documentary, a film created jointly by the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  FBI Director James Comey and DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg will also participate in a question and answer session.

Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) Director Ron Davis will participate in a joint event at the Indiana State Police headquarters to announce grant funding to support law enforcement efforts to combat the distribution and trafficking of heroin, methamphetamine and other harmful opioids.  The COPS Office will also release a new report, “Building Successful Partnerships Between Law Enforcement and Public Health Officials to Address Opioid Abuse” to serve as a resource to better assist law enforcement strategies in addressing the complex challenges posed by opioid overdoses.  

Updated December 8, 2017

Topic
Opioids
Press Release Number: 16-1055