A Justice Department program that tackles heroin, prescription drug abuse and violent crime is coming to Utah.
As part of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s 360 Strategy, the DEA will work with local law enforcement to more aggressively target drug cartels and traffickers. They’ll also work with anyone with the authority to prescribe medications to make sure they’re following best practices. According to the DEA, about 30 Utahns die every month from heroin and prescription drug overdoses. The DEA 360 strategy is in place in just a handful of U.S. cities. Brian Besser, a DEA District Agent, says this is the first time it’s been deployed statewide.
“We felt that it was important not to just address a metropolitan area,” Besser says. “The state of Utah is suffering from this epidemic and we wanted to make sure that all 29 counties are covered in this program.”
Besser says the third piece of the program is education. That includes getting communities to talk about the importance of getting people who need help into recovery programs.
Correction: The original version of this story said according to the DEA, about 30 Utahns die every year from heroin and prescription drug overdoses. The correct amount is about 30 Utahns per month.