The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has created six new heroin and fentanyl enforcement teams, two of which are in Ohio, a state witnessing a dramatic rate of overdose deaths and fentanyl seizures by law enforcement.
Teams will be based in Cincinnati and Cleveland, Ohio; New Bedford, Mass.; Charleston, W.Va.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Long Island, N.Y., but officials will have reach beyond the immediate areas to pursue illicit-drug investigations. In determining the locations, DEA considered rates of opioid mortality, level of heroin and fentanyl seizures and potential impact the teams could have in the community.
According to the DEA’s National Drug Threat Assessment, released earlier this week, Ohio had by far the highest number of fentanyl reports from forensic labs in 2016 with 7,971 exhibits collected. It was trailed by Pennsylvania with 2,355. Overall, the number of exhibits took a dramatic turn in 2013 from 934 reports to 14,051 in 2015.
Law enforcement seized 287 kilograms of fentanyl in 2016, according to DEA.