Sessions Assigns Additional Agents to Online Opioid Patrol

AG Jeff Sessions Visits Pittsburgh To Address Opioid Crisis

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Wednesday that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) would be undertaking a 45-day "surge" in a bid to crack down on prescribers and pharmacies that have been handing out unusually large amounts of prescription narcotics.

Dubbed J-CODE or the Joint Criminal Opioid Darknet Enforcement Team, the task force will include dozens more Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, intelligence analysts and professionals.

"Criminals think that they are safe on the darkness, but they are in a rude awakening", Mr. Sessions said.

Sessions delivered remarks on what he called "the deadliest drug crisis in our history", citing local incidents of overdose deaths and connections to violent crime.

Mr. Sessions announced J-Code's formation during a speech in Pittsburgh.

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"Our country is in the midst of a drug abuse crisis, enabled and worsened by... prescription drug diversion", Sessions said in a statement. Allegheny County, where Pittsburgh is located, accounted for 650 deaths two years ago.

"These are not numbers - these are moms, dads, daughters, spouses, friends, and neighbors", Sessions said. The new program will focus on opioid-related health care fraud by using data to find out which doctors are prescribing the most drugs and whose patients are dying of overdoses.

In 2016, more than 1,400 Kentuckians dies from a drug overdose.

The surge is the latest Justice Department initiative targeting the opioid epidemic.

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