Attorney General Jeff Sessions promised on Friday that the Department of Justice would step up efforts to fight heroin traffickers, in part by implementing a new policy aimed at "unhandcuffing" federal prosecutors.

"According to a report by the New England Journal of Medicine, the price of heroin is down, the availability is up and the purity is up. We intend to reverse that trend," Sessions said speaking from the department.

"We intend to reverse this trend. We're returning to the enforcement of the laws as passed by Congress, plain and simple," he said.

Sessions was defending his new sentencing and charging memo that directs federal prosecutors to bring the most "serious, readily approvable offense" charge in all cases moving forward. He told traffickers of heroin and other drugs that law enforcement "will not look the other way. We will not be willfully blind to your conduct."

The memo, he said, would help free federal prosecutors to seek tougher penalties, who "deserve to be unhandcuffed and not micromanaged from Washington."

"It means we are going to meet our responsibility to enforce the law with judgment and fairness. It is simply the right and moral thing to do," Sessions said. "These are not low-level offenders. These are drug dealers. And you're going to prison."