Drugs and violent crime often go hand in hand, which is why tackling both is a top priority for the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.
"To turn back this rising tide of violent crime, we need to confront the heroin and opioid crisis in our nation... Overdose deaths more than tripled between 2010 and 2014. According to the CDC, about 140 Americans on average now die from a drug overdose each day. That means every three weeks, we are losing as many American lives to drug overdoses as we lost in the 9/11 attacks."
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, March 2017
The U.S. Attorney's Office works closely with local District Attorneys' Offices and many federal, state and local law enforcement representatives to target those who are responsible for significant drug and violent crimes throughout Massachusetts.
The U.S. Attorney's Office's Violent Crime Reduction Strategy focuses on several types of violence. For many years, the Office has focused on firearm violence and violence by gangs and other organized crime groups. Its well-established working relationships with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies has greatly impacted the District's ability to prosecute violent criminals and make communities safer. However, violent gangs, like MS-13, continue to threaten the peace and security of many communities in Massachusetts through murder, intimidation, and drug dealing. The U.S. Attorney's Office devotes tremendous resources to disrupting and prosecuting violent transnational and localized gangs, as well as individual violent criminals, and will continue to do so unabated.
The nation is in the midst of an opioid crisis, and Massachusetts is no exception. In 2017, there were approximately 1,977 opioid-related deaths in Massachusetts. That's more than five deaths every day. Prescription drugs, heroin, and fentanyl (a synthetic opioid) are wreaking havoc on many communities throughout the District. Between 2013 and 2014, 40 percent of all 25-34-year-old male deaths in Massachusetts involved opioids. In 2015, approximately two-thirds of all opioid deaths in the state involved someone under the age of 44. Whether the drugs are illegally distributed on the streets or prescribed by physicians and other licensed medical professionals, the U.S. Attorney's Office will aggressively prosecute those who contribute to the lethal drug epidemic to the fullest extent of the law.
The District of Massachusetts is involved in the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces Program as well as DOJ's Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative.