KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WVLT) — On Thursday in New Hampshire, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new opioid relief program. Sessions said federal prosecutors in eight states will pursue even seemingly small synthetic opioid cases in hopes of reducing the supply of the drugs in areas with high overdose death rates.
Under Operation Synthetic Opioid Surge, 10 districts in eight states will choose one county in which to prosecute every case involving the sale of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids regardless of the quantity involved.
Tennessee is one of those eight states, and the district is in East Tennessee.
“When it comes to synthetic opioids, there is no such thing as a small case,” Attorney General Sessions said. “In 2016, synthetic opioids killed more Americans than any other kind of drug. Three milligrams of fentanyl can be fatal–that’s not even enough to cover up Lincoln’s face on a penny. Our prosecutors in Manatee County, Florida have shown that prosecuting seemingly small synthetic opioids cases can have a big impact and save lives, and we want to replicate their success in the districts that need it most. This new strategy—and the new prosecutors who will help carry it out—will help us put more traffickers behind bars and keep the American people safe from the threat of these deadly drugs.”
According to a release from the United States Attorney’s office of the Eastern District of Tennessee, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Executive Office will provide funding for additional two-year term Assistant U.S. Attorney to each district that participates to help with drug-related prosecutions.
The districts participating in the opioid surge program are:
Northern District of Ohio
Southern District of Ohio
Eastern District of Tennessee
Eastern District of Kentucky
Southern District of West Virginia
Northern District of West Virginia
District of Maine
Eastern District of California
Western District of Pennsylvania
District of New Hampshire