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Justice Department Allots Additional US$70 Million to Battle Opioid Crisis

In tandem with President Trump’s signing of H.R. 6, (now former) US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced new Department of Justice (DOJ) funding awards aimed at curbing drug trafficking and supporting youth impacted by America’s opioid epidemic.

At DOJ’s first-ever National Opioid Summit, Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein highlighted sustained federal law enforcement efforts to combat opioid abuse and related substance issues. DOJ’s nearly US$70 million investment, which closely follows the recent announcement of nearly US$320 million in grant funding by its Office of Justice Programs, is expected to bolster a variety of department divisions and initiatives. Specific disbursements include:

  1. US$34.6 million for the Office of Victims of Crime and Bureau of Justice Assistance, which funded 41 victim service sites and a technical assistance provider for the purpose of expanding services to children affected by the opioid crisis

  2. US$27.8 million for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office’s Anti-Heroin Task Force Program, which funded 17 state law enforcement agencies to better probe the illicit distribution of heroin and prescription opioids

  3. US$7.2 million for the COPS Anti-Methamphetamine Program (CAMP), which funded nine state law enforcement agencies seeking to more effectively seize methamphetamine and shutter unlawful drug laboratories

DOJ officials also announced the formation of the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force, which involves US Attorney’s Offices for nine federal districts in five states and DOJ’s Health Care Fraud Unit, as well as other divisions within the Federal Bureau of Investigation, US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and US Drug Enforcement Administration. The joint DOJ and HHS initiative will seek to improve the identification, investigation and prosecution of illegal prescription schemes in Appalachia and surrounding areas. The strike force will also rely on expertise from the US Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division and state Medicaid Fraud Control Units.

© Copyright 2020 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLPNational Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 311


About this Author

John E. Wyand, Squire Patton Boggs, Healthcare Lawyer, UK

John Wyand, a Partner in our Healthcare policy practice group in Washington DC, focuses on advising healthcare and life sciences companies and providers on legal, policy and regulatory issues. Additionally, he regularly assists hospitals and physician groups in developing strategies for hospital/physician alignment, mergers and acquisitions, and fraud and abuse compliance.

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Victoria Cram Local Government Public Policy Attorney Squire Patton Boggs Washington DC

Victoria Cram is the co-chair of the firm’s Transportation, Infrastructure & Local Government Public Policy Practice. She brings more than 25 years of federal advocacy experience representing local governments, other public sector entities and nonprofit organizations in Washington DC with a substantive background in urban policy development. She works closely with her clients to strategize on, develop and implement federal legislative and regulatory agendas.

Victoria has a robust record of advocacy on a wide range of topics including transportation and infrastructure, housing, economic development and community development, homeland security, social services, aviation, technology, public safety, preemption of local control and public finance. She specializes in positioning clients to secure federal funding through competitive grants and the appropriations process. She has developed federal legislative and regulatory priorities with mayors and city councils, analyzed the impact of legislation and regulations upon individual cities and implemented legislative strategies by liaison with relevant Congressional delegations, Congressional committees and other members of Congress. 

Victoria represents clients as diverse as Miami-Dade County, the City of New Orleans, Portland (Oregon) and Las Vegas.

Before joining the firm, Victoria served as the Director of Government Affairs at a law firm, representing the interests of cities across the United States on a broad array of matters before Congress and federal agencies.

Victoria was an Assistant City Representative at the National Center for Municipal Development. She also served as the assistant to the executive director of the Democratic Study Group in the US House of Representatives and as a staff assistant to Congressman John Sieberling (D-OH).