DEA 360 Pilot Targets Abuse of Heroin, Prescription Drugs

"DEA's 360 Strategy recognizes that we need to utilize every community resource possible to reach young people and attack the heroin and prescription drug epidemic at multiple levels," said Gary Tuggle, DEA special agency in charge for the Philadelphia Division.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has decided to make Pittsburgh the pilot city for an enforcement/prevention "360 Strategy" aiming to help cities dealing with a heroin and prescription drug abuse epidemic and related violent crimes. DEA Special Agent in Charge for the Philadelphia Division Gary Tuggle announced it Nov. 10 with U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton and several local and federal agencies and organizations working in law enforcement, pharmacology, and substance abuse prevention and treatment.

"The work of law enforcement to remove the traffickers and the work of our partner agencies doing treatment and prevention in Pittsburgh has already had an impact on the city's drug problem. The 360 strategy brings together for the first time the agencies that have dealt with this problem separately into a comprehensive and sustained effort to not only fight drug traffickers, but also to make communities resilient to their return," Tuggle explained.

The strategy consists of a three-fold approach:

  • Provide DEA leadership with coordinated DEA enforcement actions targeting all levels of drug trafficking organizations and violent gangs supplying drugs
  • Have a long-lasting impact by engaging drug manufacturers, wholesalers, practitioners, and pharmacists to increase awareness of the heroin and prescription drug problem and push for responsible prescribing and use of the medications
  • Change attitudes through community outreach and partnership with local organizations following DEA enforcement actions

"We are grateful that DEA through its 360 initiative will contribute to the significant efforts already underway in western Pennsylvania to reduce heroin and opioid overdoses," said Hickton. "Pittsburgh has the opportunity to lead the nation due to the strong commitment and cooperation among our leadership, law enforcement, and citizens."

DEA and its partners will host multi-day summits to bring community leaders together to look for sustainable ways to address drug abuse, addiction, trafficking and violence. Partners include the Department of Justice Violence Reduction Network, Health and Human Services, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Centers for Disease Control, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, and others. "DEA's 360 Strategy recognizes that we need to utilize every community resource possible to reach young people and attack the heroin and prescription drug epidemic at multiple levels. This three-sided strategy brings together everyone who has a stake in the successful outcome of this pilot program. This could be a model for many other communities," Tuggle said.

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