DEA Launches New Strategy to Fight Rx Drug Abuse

NOVEMBER 15, 2015
Meghan Ross, Associate Editor
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has chosen Pittsburgh as the site of its new pilot program seeking help from pharmacists in curbing prescription drug abuse. 
The 360 Strategy, which also addresses heroin use and violent crime, has 3 elements: more DEA leadership, a long-lasting impact, and a change in attitudes. 
More DEA leadership will enable a closer target on drug trafficking organizations and violent gangs who supply the drug trade. 
“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,” DEA Special Agent in Charge for the Philadelphia Division Gary Tuggle said in a press release. “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.”
Pharmacists, drug manufacturers, wholesalers, and practitioners will be asked to increase awareness of the drug problem and advocate for responsible prescribing and use of medication. 
The change in attitude will be achieved through community outreach and partnership with local organizations. The DEA pledged to “equip and empower communities with the tools to fight the heroin and prescription drug epidemic.” 
Tuggle emphasized that it was vital to get the community involved in the 360 Strategy. He called for more dialogue with parents, educators, after-school organizations like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and employees in the workplace.
The DEA will also help form a community alliance made up of leaders from law enforcement, education, business, government, media, social services, and other entities, which will promote prevention and treatment messages to the public.