AG Lynch: Cooperation Between Law and Medicine Key to Opioid Fight

By Erica Noonan, Vital Signs Editor

WALTHAM — U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said collaboration and cooperation among law enforcement and medicine is the key to progress in battling the epidemic of opioid addiction.

She delivered the keynote address at Friday’s Opioid Misuse and Addiction Summit at MMS Headquarters, a gathering of hundred health care leaders, physicians, law enforcement officials, substance abuse experts, pharmacists,  and patients.

“This is a vital public health issue that was for far too long seen only through the lens of law enforcement,”  she said. “As physicians, you see the true human cost of these addictions.”

She described the four points of the White House approach: enforcement, disposal, monitoring, and education. “We are disrupting the distribution channels… and building cooperation and communication between agencies, and integrating DEA (efforts) with other agencies.”

Because prescription drug abuse is a common precursor to abuse of heroin, a federal multi-agency Heroin Task Force will bring a plan to Congress by years end, Lynch said.

A recent four-state drug bust netted 220 arrests, including 22 physicians and pharmacists, she said. National drug drop-off programs have grown in popularity and effectiveness; the past nine events collected more than 5 million pounds of medication.

“We do have reasons for optimism. We can strengthen families and save lives,” said Lynch. “This is about mending the basic fabric of our communities.”

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