DEA increases personnel in W MI amid record overdose deaths

Grand Rapids
andrew birge press conference 031518

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Drug Enforcement Administration is adding agents and investigators to its West Michigan office.

The DEA would not reveal details regarding the staff increase, saying only that’s it’s more than doubling the personnel based in the Grand Rapids metro area.

Specifically, the new agents and investigators will focus on fighting the illegal diversion of prescription narcotics by pharmaceutical distributors and health care providers.

“(The additional resources) will substantially improve our ability to deter and prevent prescription drugs from ending up in the wrong hands,” said Andrew Birge, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan.

Birge noted that most people who struggle with opioid addiction start out using prescription painkillers.

“Addiction to these drugs leads to heroin and worse, including fentanyl bought off the street,” said Birge.

The newly-appointed Birge called a news conference to announce the new resources.

He also used the opportunity to encourage the public to attend an upcoming opioid community presentation and discussion on the opioid epidemic.

“I cannot stress enough how important it is for parents and teenagers to understand this epidemic,” said Birge.

He also talked about the impact opioids are having on teens.

“Teenagers learn and grow by making the occasional poor choice, but they can’t afford to make poor choices with opioids,” explained Birge.

The event will be hosted by Grandville Public Schools, Grandville Police, Families Against Narcotics and several law enforcement agencies, local, state and federal.

The presentation and discussion will happen March 19 at 7 p.m. at the Grandville High School auditorium, located at 4700 Canal Avenue SW in Grandville.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the event is free and open to the public.

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