Head of DEA says jailing drug abusers won't solve opioid epidemic

Chuck Rosenberg, a former federal prosecutor who now heads the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, says the solution to the rampant increase in deaths caused by overdoses of heroin, fentanyl and other opioids isn't throwing users in jail, according to Cleveland.com.

Mr. Rosenberg spoke on the issue Monday while meeting with reporters in Cleveland, which saw a record number of drug overdose deaths in August, according to the report.

"I've been saying this ever since I was brand-new [Assistant U.S. Attorney] 25 years ago: We're not going to prosecute or enforce our way out of this mess," said Mr. Rosenberg, according to the report. "Prosecution [and] enforcement is a big part of it, but we've got to do a much better job of getting the word out about how dangerous this stuff is."

The DEA is currently working with the U.S. Department of Justice to launch a multi-faceted initiative in combating the overdose epidemic by partnering with local hospitals, rehabilitation centers and educators to increase public awareness on drug abuse and scaling back the use of prescription painkillers, according to the report.

Mr. Rosenberg said the DEA is also encouraging physicians to stop prescribing unnecessary painkillers to patients, who sometimes become addicted to the drugs and eventually turn to heroin once their prescriptions end.

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