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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Louisiana

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

U.S. Attorney’s Office shares with students the dangers of heroin and opioids

SHREVEPORT, La. — United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced that her office is observing National Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week by bringing the discussion to Shreveport and surrounding high schools.

Today’s program at Northwood High School in Shreveport kicks off similar events that begin this week and will continue throughout the year. Students at schools in the Western District of Louisiana will view the FBI and DEA documentary “Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict.” There will be a discussion of the film followed by presentations from an Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office staff, members of law enforcement, counselors and others. A discussion guide will also be made available to classroom teachers for use after the events.

“I want to thank the Caddo Parish School Board, Superintendent Theodis Lamar Goree and Northwood High School Principal Darlene Simons for hosting the first of these presentations,” Finley stated. “Our goal is to have many more of these programs at local schools and expand them to university and technical college campuses. Addiction to these substances affects all of us on some level, young and old. We want to do everything we can to make sure that the young people of this District are aware of the dangers and pitfalls so that they can have great futures.”

The White House, Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Offices have joined with law enforcement, schools and other public and private agencies to observe National Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week. It provides the chance to educate the public about the dangers of heroin and opioid abuse, as well as how they can help stop the epidemic that is killing so many of children, friends and neighbors.  Many people are not aware how pervasive opioids have become and do not know how rapidly the opioid threat is evolving.

The prescription opioid and heroin epidemic has taken a toll on many Americans and their families, while straining resources of law enforcement and treatment programs.  More Americans now die every year from drug overdoses than they do in motor vehicle crashes—and most of those involve prescription opioids or heroin. More than 27,000 lives were lost in 2014 to heroin and opioids, and reports from the field indicate that this number has increased in 2015 and this year.  The largest share of this toll comes from the abuse of prescription opioids, but the number of deaths from heroin has increased dramatically over the last several years.  Particularly disturbing is the recent rise of deaths caused by fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is estimated to be 80 times the potency of morphine.

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Updated September 20, 2016