Deaths from drug overdoses were on the rise, even prior to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). And the pandemic has only amplified the issue. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “over 81,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the US in the 12 months ending in May 2020, the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period.” In response to pandemic-induced rising overdoses, the federal government and partners have amplified programs to support local communities.
Last month, the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) expanded its previous 360 Strategy to a new initiative called Operation Engage. The goal of this program is to help DEA’s local field divisions better “customize plans and direct resources to target the drugs that present the greatest threat to public health and safety in their jurisdictions.” The goals of the effort are to identify and respond to local drug threat enforcement priorities and trends, support local drug use prevention efforts, and make connections between public safety and public health efforts.
Operation Engage will work in 11 areas to start and will also collaborate with national and local stakeholders and partners. In the New England area, for example, the focus of Operation Engage will be on methamphetamine and fentanyl in and around communities of Manchester, New Hampshire. The goal is to expand nationally by 2022.
Making sure that connections are made across the public-private sector in the area of opioid awareness and protecting families and communities, is essential to the work of CSIP and its partners. Find general resources on opioid addiction, as well as tools to help verify online pharmacies and find affordable medications.
About the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP)
The Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP), a non-profit organization founded in 2011 by the White House, represents the technology sector and commerce intermediaries including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Oath, UPS, PayPal, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and .Health. CSIP’s mission is to promote industry best practices as it relates to illegal online pharmacies, and educating consumers about safe purchasing of prescription drugs.