AG Sessions announces new steps to combat opioid crisis
RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions announced new steps to combat the opioid crisis during a speech in Raleigh Tuesday in front of a group of the region’s top law enforcement officials.
“We’re not going to accept the status quo. We will not allow it to continue. Business as usual is over,” he said.
Sessions noted in North Carolina that on average at least three people die every day due to opioid overdoses.
He announced a new proposed rule for the Drug Enforcement Administration. It would allow the DEA to limit the amount of opioids a company can make if it’s believed those drugs are being diverted for misuse.
He also said there’s an agreement among 48 state, including North Carolina, to share prescription drug information with one another for investigative purposes.
“Ending the drug crisis is a top priority of the Justice Department and the Trump administration,” he said.
Sessions did not take any questions from reporters. The speech was also closed to the public.
Before it began, a group rallied outside, criticizing the administration’s approach to combating the issue.
“I have family members that have gone through the opioid crisis,” said Amy McKeown, of Cary. “We need to look at scientific and medical facts. We need to be compassionate of these victims and not treat them like criminals.”
Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West was among the group invited to hear the speech and meet with Sessions. CBS 17 asked him whether he believes the new proposals announced Tuesday will be impactful.
“I think that they will. I mean, I think everything makes a difference. And, I think just acknowledging with the opioid epidemic that we have such a problem,” he said. “I would say it’s, arguably, the main driver behind our crimes because property crimes are related to a substance abuse addiction.”
U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon also announced Tuesday the conviction of Dr. Donovan Dixon, of Fayetteville, on drug distribution charges. Higdon said the investigation in Dixon began after the DEA noticed four of the top ten opioid prescribing pharmacies in North Carolina were in Lumberton.
During the trial, Higdon says a drug dealer testified that he paid Dixon to write prescriptions for people the doctor had never met. Dixon awaits sentencing.