St. Louis among targets of new DEA heroin prevention effort

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ST. LOUIS (AP)- The federal Drug Enforcement Administration is enlisting health care providers, civic groups and parents of overdose victims in the St. Louis region as part of what it calls its “360 Strategy” to combat heroin and prescription drug abuse and related violent crime.

St. Louis is one of four communities nationwide targeted by the new DEA effort, along with Pittsburgh, Milwaukee and West Memphis, Arkansas. Federal officials unveiled the local program at a Thursday morning news conference at the agency’s St. Louis office.

Speakers cited a rash of statistics showing the growing dangers of opioid abuse. More than 47,000 people nationwide died from such drug overdoses in 2014. That total exceeds the number of yearly deaths from guns and car crashes.