PITTSBURGH – Today, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced a dramatic decrease in overdose deaths in western Pennsylvania in 2018. Overdose deaths are down 43% throughout the 25 counties in the Western District of Pennsylvania. This includes significant decreases in the counties most impacted by the crisis, including of 50% in Beaver County, 50% in Butler County, 47% in Lawrence County, 47% in Allegheny County, 44% in Washington County and 37% in Westmoreland County.
“This crisis has impacted every community in Western Pennsylvania,” said U.S. Attorney Brady, calling western Pennsylvania “Ground Zero” for the opioid epidemic. “From day one of my administration, I vowed to fight the opioid epidemic with every tool the Department of Justice has, and to do so with new urgency.”
United States Attorney Brady created a new Narcotics and Organized Crime Section and filled it with the office’s most experienced narcotics prosecutors. He appointed an Opioid Coordinator to serve as a point person for the district’s strategic efforts, and obtained funding from the Department of Justice for new federal prosecutors. With the international reach of federal law enforcement, and strong mandatory minimum penalties under federal law, the United States Attorney’s Office brings significant resources to the fight in investigating and prosecuting opioid traffickers.
Additionally, United States Attorney Brady has prioritized cyber investigations into Darknet marketplaces and placed a continued emphasis on health care professionals who abuse their prescribing privileges. Thus far, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Pennsylvania has prosecuted 25 health care professionals for illegal drug distribution.
“Every life is precious—every person addicted to drugs is a son, daughter, mother, father, brother or sister. We will continue to fight for every life,” said U.S. Attorney Brady. Brady praised the efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement partners in combatting the epidemic, as well as the crucial role that the health care and treatment communities have played in treating those with opioid abuse disorder.