“The work of law enforcement to remove the traffickers and the work of our partner agencies doing treatment and prevention in Pittsburgh has already had an impact on the city’s drug problem,” said Tuggle. “The 360 strategy brings together for the first time, the agencies that have dealt with this problem separately, into a comprehensive and sustained effort to not only fight drug traffickers but also to make communities resilient to their return.”
The DEA 360 Strategy comprises a three-fold approach to fighting drug traffickers:
- Provide DEA leadership with coordinated DEA enforcement actions targeting all levels of drug trafficking organizations and violent gangs supplying drugs in our neighborhoods, as we have been doing with ongoing law enforcement operations.
- Have a long-lasting impact by engaging drug manufacturers, wholesalers, practitioners and pharmacists to increase awareness of the heroin and prescription drug problem and push for responsible prescribing and use of these medications throughout the medical community.
- Change attitudes through community outreach and partnership with local organizations following DEA enforcement actions to equip and empower communities with the tools to fight the heroin and prescription drug epidemic.
“We are grateful that DEA, through its 360 initiative will contribute to the significant efforts already underway in Western Pennsylvania to reduce heroin and opioid overdoses,” said Hickton. “Pittsburgh has the opportunity to lead the nation due to the strong commitment and cooperation among our leadership, law enforcement and citizens.”
“The community outreach aspect of this program may be the most important to long-term success,” added Tuggle. “The 360 Strategy brings to bear the concerted efforts of substance abuse and prevention experts to addresses four key groups by engaging in dialogue, providing information and resources to educate young people about the consequences of drug abuse and trafficking:
- Parents/caregivers in the home
- Educators and the classroom
- After school organizations such as Boy and Girl Scouts and athletic associations
- The workplace.”
In the short term, the goal of the 360 strategy is to provide as much information as possible in many different forms to reach young people. Officials will work to form a “Community Alliance” that will comprise key leaders from law enforcement, prevention, treatment, the judicial system, education, business, government, civic organizations, faith communities, media, social services and others, to form the core of a long-term group that will cross disciplines to help carry the prevention and treatment messages to the local population during the critical post-operation timeframe.
In the future, DEA and its partners also plan to host multi-day summits to bring community leaders together to look for sustainable, impactful efforts to address drug abuse, addiction, trafficking and the violence that accompanies it. Other partners will include the Department of Justice Violence Reduction Network, Health and Human Services, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Centers for Disease Control, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, and many others.
“DEA’s 360 Strategy recognizes that we need to utilize every community resource possible to reach young people and attack the heroin and prescription drug epidemic at multiple levels,” said Tuggle. “This three-sided strategy brings together everyone who has a stake in the successful outcome of this pilot program. This could be a model for many other communities.”