The Department of Justice announced Wednesday it it opening a new Drug Enforcement Administration office in Kentucky to help with the drug crisis in that state and its neighbors, and would also boost funding to attack heroin and methamphetamine distribution around the country.
"Today, we are facing the worst drug crisis in American history, with one American dying of a drug overdose every nine minutes," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.
Sessions and acting DEA Administration Robert Patterson said the new office in Louisville, Ky., would deal with drug issues in that state as well as Tennessee and West Virginia. The department's statement said the move would "better align DEA enforcement efforts within the Appalachian mountain region."
“By creating a new division in the region, this restructuring places DEA in lockstep with our partners in the area to do just that. This change will produce more effective investigations on heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opioid trafficking, all of which have a significant impact on the region,” Patterson said.
The department also announced $12 million in new grant funding. About $7 million of that will go to the Anti-Heroin Task Force Program, and the rest will go to the Anti-Methamphetamine Program.
Sessions also directed all U.S. attorney’s to designate an “opioid coordinator” by Dec. 15. That new coordinator will facilitate all opioid, heroin and fentanyl related cases, and be in charge of maintaining the district’s statistics on prosecutions.