LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville is getting help from the Drug Enforcement Agency to combat its heroin and prescription drug problem.
The DEA has chosen Louisville as the fourth city to participate in its 360 Degree Strategy program, which uses three approaches to fight drug traffickers and drug abuse.
- Enforcement – Actions that target drug trafficking organizations supplying opioids to the neighborhoods of Louisville. These efforts will include a strategy to specifically address those traffickers that supply opioids resulting in fatal and non-fatal overdoses.
- Diversion Control – 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 these medications throughout the medical community.
- Community Outreach – By partnering with medical professionals, governmental and community service organizations to proactively educate the public of the dangers of prescription drug and heroin abuse, and to guide individuals to treatment services when needed.
The 360 Degree Strategy program began in Pittsburgh last November. It later launched in St. Louis and Milwaukee.
The United States Attorney's Office is also pursuing more aggressive prosecution of heroin dealers. Working with the DEA and LMPD, they have created the Heroin Investigation Team (HIT). The team will investigate heroin overdoses with the goal of developing federal cases for the dealers associated with the users.
"I have a message for heroin dealers," United States Attorney John Kuhn said. "You are killing people in this city from every walk of life. From this point forward, if you sell heroin that causes an overdose, we will bring federal charges against you that will get you a minimum of 20 years in prison with no parole. The trafficking in this deadly poison must end."
The HIT program provides federal funding for to pay overtime for six LMPD officers. Those officers will be deputized by the DEA.