Statement of U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves
Drug overdoses have claimed over 400,000 lives in the last five years alone. In 2020, nearly 75% of overdose deaths involved an opioid – a family of highly addictive pain relievers. These drugs include illegal drugs like heroin as well as powerful prescription pain relievers, such as oxycodone (Oxycontin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, morphine, fentanyl, and methadone. Fentanyl, often found either in counterfeit pills or as an additive in illegal drugs, has had an especially lethal and devastating impact on neighborhoods here in the District as well as across the nation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia (USAO-DC) and our local and federal law enforcement partners understand the threat and are fully committed to protecting our communities from opioids and the violence that often accompanies their distribution. We want to join communities across the country in recognizing National Opioid Awareness Day today. We encourage you to visit the USAO-DC website to learn about the USAO-DC Heroin & Opioid Working Group; USAO-DC’s recent work to combat opioid-related crime; and resources that can empower communities in this fight.
USAO-DC Heroin & Opioid Working Group
In response to the devastating opioid epidemic here in Washington, D.C., and consistent with the focus of the U.S. Department of Justice on opioid abuse prevention, USAO-DC established the Heroin & Opioid Working Group. This Working Group, which consists of mental health and drug abuse treatment providers as well as numerous community-based and governmental organizations, was created to bring a greater awareness to the community about the dangers of opioid abuse. The primary goals of the Heroin & Opioid Working Group, which meets monthly, are to disseminate information concerning the particular trends of opioid use in the District and develop effective strategies for prevention outreach in the District. Additionally, the Working Group hosts -- at schools, recreation centers, churches, senior centers, and other community forums -- discussions, informational fairs, and film screenings on the perils of opioid abuse. Please contact USAO-DC Community Outreach Specialist Donice Adams, at Donice.adams@usdoj,gov, for more information.