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Drug Abuse Crisis Brings U.S. Attorney General To Kentucky

Josh James
United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch addressed heroin and prescription drug abuse at the University of Kentucky Tuesday.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch used a visit to the University of Kentucky to outline the federal government’s role in helping states stem the tide of opioid abuse.

The head of the U.S. Justice Department echoed the cadence of her boss, the commander-in-chief, Tuesday, urging communities not to give up hope in the evolving battle against heroin and prescription drug abuse.

"We will , we can, and we must," she implored the audience at UK's BioPharm complex.

Lynch acknowledged early on that her message would sound familiar, given that Kentucky has "experienced the ravages of the heroin and opioid epidemic with particular viciousness."

The brief policy address was one of more than 250 events making up an Obama administration National Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Abuse Week, intended to highlight what the attorney general called the government's “all hands on deck” approach.

To that end, Lynch took part in a town hall at Madison Central High School and met leaders in Kentucky’s USA HEAT program, which sends relatives of overdose victims into schools, prisons, and other community groups. As for concrete steps on the national level, Lynch said the federal government is targeting large scale drug trafficking syndicates, stepping up heroin-related arrests, and – more recently – funneling more than $8.8 million into drug monitoring programs.

"These grants are going to help 20 organizations nationwide, including the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, enhance their monitoring tools and to further develop the innovative, data-driven responses to this crisis," she announced.

Lynch closed by praising Kentucky’s anti-drug efforts, suggesting other states should take their cues from the commonwealth.

"The great work that is being done here in Kentucky is a model that should be replicated around the country," she said. "We will be looking to you as an example for other states."

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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