3:56 PM, Aug 26, 2015
State leaders from Detroit hosted a summit on Tuesday afternoon targeting heroin and prescription pill abuse.
Representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and DEA agents from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and West Virginia attended the summit in the federal building in downtown Detroit.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, heroin use in the U.S. has doubled in recent years. In the Midwest, deaths have increased by 60 percent.
Barbara McQuade is the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District Of Michigan. She calls the problem an epidemic, and it could be starting in Michigan.
“There is a pipeline that law enforcement agencies have identified from Michigan into each of these other states; Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia.”
McQuade said it’s not just heroin or just pills, since both go hand in hand.
“Street pills are very expensive and so a cheaper alternative is heroin but you never know what you’re getting when you get heroin so sometimes someone’s first dose can be their last with an overdose death,” said McQuade.
David Hickton, the U.S. Attorney from the Western District of Pennsylvania calls the problem a public health emergency.
“We need to do everything we can do, as fast as we can do it to deal with this crisis,” said Hickton.
According to leaders in attendance, the concern is high because the stakes are high. Teens, college kids, senior citizens are all people who cold fall into the addiction.
“Sports injuries is one of the ways that kids get introduced to it, another is dental work, when, they get prescribed, legitimately prescribed those pills, other kids find it in the medicine cabinet,” said McQuade.
McQuade said in the coming weeks state leaders will continue this discussion with local leaders to help fight the problem.