Attorney General Loretta Lynch travels today to eastern Kentucky to meet with families who have lost loved ones to heroin, teens who might be thinking of experimenting with drugs, and prosecutors trying new methods to battle the epidemic outside the courtroom, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports. Lynch’s visit is one of more than 250 events this week by federal officials during what President Obama declared as Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week. Lynch is hosting a youth town hall meeting in the morning at a high school and then will speak at the University of Kentucky on what her Justice Department is doing to address the epidemic.
Lynch also will meet with participants of a pioneering program in Lexington lead by U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey and his staff that sends parents who have lost children to overdoses to schools, churches, community groups and even prison to put a face to the epidemic. It’s called “USA HEAT,” short for the U.S. Attorney’s Heroin Education Action Team and has already gotten interest from other cities who may want to start one of their own. “Parents are on the front lines of this epidemic,” Lynch said yesterday. “I thank them for speaking out through pain we can only imagine.” She will issue a memo to U.S. Attorneys this week emphasizing an “all hands on deck” approach to the heroin problem, including an emphasis on tracking and dismantling prescription pill mills and other drug organizations.