Attorney General Loretta Lynch wraps up Kentucky visit

Published: Sep. 16, 2016 at 2:40 PM EDT
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In a visit to central Kentucky on Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch addressed some on the front lines of the battle against opioid and heroin abuse.

In her speech at the University of Kentucky, Lynch called opioid and heroin abuse a "scourge" and an "epidemic."

"We are focusing our enforcement efforts on this problem, because we have to stop the pipeline of poison into our communities," she said.

On Tuesday morning, Lynch held a youth town hall at Madison Central High School.

"Just last year alone in Kentucky, 1200 people died from opioid abuse and heroin abuse overdoses just last year," Lynch told the students. "That's two times the number of people in this room."

Lynch also met with parents on the Heroin Education Action Team who lost their children to overdoses.

The Obama Administration announced a “week of action” to raise awareness about the rising public health crisis caused by drug overdoses.

As part of the effort, the Department of Justice designated the week of Sept.18-23 as National Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week.

Senior Department of Justice officials, members of the President’s Cabinet, and other federal agencies will hold events focused on the work being done to address the national prescription opioid and heroin epidemic.

National Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week is designed to reinforce the Justice Department’s three-fold approach to the opioid and heroin epidemic:

  • prevent further tragedies by raising awareness regarding the Opioid and Heroin epidemic
  • focus on enforcement priorities and highlight best practices
  • deploy resources for treatment.

As part of the initiative, more than 70 U.S. Attorneys around the country have already committed to doing more than 160 different events around the country.