The Justice Department is planning to launch a new strategy aimed at addressing the heroin and opioid crisis in the U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch in a memo is urging prosecutors across the country to more readily share information across state lines about prescription drug abuses by physicians, according to a Friday report from USA Today.
The memo, which is expected to be sent next week to all 94 U.S. attorney offices, is meant to help identify drug traffickers and routes more quickly, the newspaper reported.
Federal prosecutors will also be directed to coordinate enforcement efforts with public health officials in their districts, putting an emphasis on treatment and prevention, Lynch told the paper.
"I'm not calling anybody out, because I think the people who look at this problem realize quickly how devastating it has been to families, to communities, to public health dollars, to law enforcement resources,'' she said. "There is no one magic bullet for this.''
Heroin abuse and the opioid epidemic have been regular topics on the campaign trail during this year's presidential race, and DOJ's plan represents a final push on the part of the Obama administration in dealing with the public health crisis.
The administration announced $53 million in grants to states on Aug. 31 to help fight opioid abuse. There were 28,000 overdose deaths from prescription painkillers and heroin in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC).
The federal government has been accused of moving too slowly to address the issue, and other agencies have taken steps to address heroin, including more addition warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and guidelines against over-prescribing from the CDC.
By Jesse Byrnes - The Hill/DSept. 16, 2016
Photo: Barry Blankenship, seattleweekly