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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 6, 2016

Manhattan U.S. Attorney To Host Education Forums On Opioid Abuse Epidemic

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that he, along with representatives from the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), the medical field, and representatives from the community, will host a number of education forums to discuss how best to confront the epidemic of opioid abuse that is ravaging so many of our communities, and the federal government’s response. 

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:  “Close to 80 Americans die every day from opioid abuse.  Indeed, more people die from drug overdoses now than automobile accidents or guns.  This growing epidemic is everywhere – in our cities, our suburbs and our rural communities.  This problem will not be solved by prosecutions alone, although law enforcement certainly must play its part.  All of us – law enforcement, pharmaceutical companies, schools and parents – must work together to combat the scourge of opioid abuse.  And that effort starts with education.  That is why, over the coming weeks, I will be holding education forums in communities throughout our District to discuss this evolving challenge and will be talking about how our Office, the DEA, and others can help.”   

Since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137 percent, including a 200 percent increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids (prescription opioid pain relievers and heroin).  Drug overdoses are the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States, eclipsing deaths from motor vehicle crashes and deaths from firearms.  Each day, 78 Americans die of an opioid overdose.  This increase mirrors large increases in heroin use across the country and has been shown to be closely tied to opioid pain reliever misuse and dependence.  Past misuse of prescription opioids is the strongest risk factor for heroin initiation and use, specifically among persons who report past-year dependence or abuse.  The increased availability of heroin, combined with its relatively low price (compared with diverted prescription opioids) and high purity, are major drivers of the upward trend in heroin use and overdose.[1]

Mr. Bharara will host the first educational forum on Thursday, October 20, 2016, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at New York University School of Law.  Parents, teachers, medical professionals, and members of the public are encouraged to attend to learn more about the urgent challenge of opioid addiction.  Attendees are encouraged to RSVP here.

A second forum will be held Thursday, December 1, 2016, at Pace Law School in White Plains, New York, and a third forum will be held Thursday, December 8, 2016, at Fordham University in the Bronx, New York.  Details concerning these forums will be available on our website www.justice.gov/usao-sdny.

Attachment(s): 
Topic(s): 
Community Outreach
Prescription Drugs
Press Release Number: 
16-266
Updated October 6, 2016