New England Prescription Opioid Strike Force aims to combat opioid epidemic

Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 4:40 PM EDT
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(WABI) - The Justice Department’s Criminal Division is working to combat the opioid epidemic in New England.

They’re creating the New England Prescription Opioid Strike Force to focus specifically on illegal opioid prescriptions.

Since 2018, officials say some of the greatest spikes in the drug overdose death rate have occurred in New England.

US Attorney for the District of Maine, Darcie McElwee, says while the trafficking of illegal drugs like fentanyl is well publicized, nearly a quarter of drug overdose deaths in Maine in 2020 were the result of pharmaceutical opioids.

”The people of Maine are losing loved ones at an alarming rate, and Maine’s entire law enforcement community has identified the opioid epidemic as the number one issue its officers are called to deal with on a daily basis with limited resources and staffing in nearly every department across the state,” McElwee said.

Pills(USAF / Abbey Rieves)

We’re told the formation of the Strike Force will provide the FBI and law enforcement partners with important collective resources to combat health care fraud and drug diversion schemes within the region.

McElwee says Maine will work closely with the criminal division in cases brought to the state.

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