On Wednesday, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced the establishment of a new DEA Field Division in Louisville, Ky. The new location will be the 22nd division office in the United States and will launch on January 1, 2018.
"I applaud the DEA for taking targeted action in the Appalachian region to crack down on the pervasive drug abuse crisis and help save lives,” Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) tells Behavioral Healthcare Executive in an email. “America’s deadly drug abuse epidemic is taking lives at an alarming rate—every nine minutes another life is lost as a result of an overdose.”
The new division—including Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia—aims to better align enforcement efforts within Appalachia and produce more effective investigations on heroin, fentanyl and prescription opioid trafficking, according to the DEA. The Louisville Division will be led by Special Agent in Charge D. Christopher Evans, who comes from the Detroit Field Division.
“We have no time to back down in fear, rather we need all hands on deck, joining with the president, the DEA and other agencies to lead the way for life-saving solutions," Rogers says.
In addition, all federal prosecutors' offices are directed to designate an Opioid Coordinator by mid-December to work closely with prosecutors and with other federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement to coordinate federal opioid prosecutions in each district. More than $12 million in grant funding to assist law enforcement in combating illegal manufacturing and distribution of methamphetamine, heroin and prescription opioids was also awarded on Wednesday.