DEA announces three-pronged ‘360 Strategy’ to fight opioid epidemic in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — The Drug Enforcement Administration, local law enforcement officials and others involved in fighting the illicit use and distribution of opioids are bringing the DEA's "360 Strategy" to Utah.

"This strategy has been developed to specifically address this vicious, this deadly heroin and opioid epidemic that is burgeoning across the great state of Utah and many other parts of the country," said Brian Besser, DEA District Agent in Charge for Utah.

The DEA's 360 Strategy has been deployed in several pilot cities throughout the country, but the program's implementation in Utah marks the first time the strategy is applied to an entire state. Roughly 30 Utahns die each month due to heroin or prescription painkiller overdoses.

According to the DEA, the strategy is an "innovative, three-pronged approach to combating heroin/opiod use." It includes coordinated law enforcement actions against drug trafficking, enforcement actions against pharmaceutical drug manufacturers, wholesalers, pharmacies and practitioners operating outside of the law and community outreach efforts.

"The idea is to have a holistic, comprehensive endeavor by bringing everybody under one canopy, if that makes sense," Besser said. "We have law enforcement, we have practitioners, wholesalers, faith-based groups, educators, you know. We want a really, really well-rounded sampling from the community on everyone that's involved in this fight to help stave off this burgeoning opioid epidemic that's sweeping across the state."