DEA reveals new plan to combat drugs -

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DEA reveals new plan to combat drugs

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ST. LOUIS ( -- The DEA is launching a new "360 strategy" to combat heroin use, prescription drug use and violent crime.

The DEA will team with health professionals, community service organizations and local activists as a part of the strategy.

Overall, the DEA says that 44,000 Americans died fro ma drug overdose last year.

"Over the last 10 to 12 years the deaths from heroin overdose has quadrupled and it's the fastest growing cause of death related to substance abuse than any other drug right now," Laurie Byrne, SSM Health Saint Louis University, said.

That's why the DEA has announced the new initiative combining law enforcement with community resources.

"Let's face it, law enforcement options are really arresting somebody," St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said. "Putting someone in jail doesn't deal with the substance abuse issue, their dependency on prescription drugs perpetuates the problem makes that person's live because of conviction and time away from family that much more difficult."

Agents told News 4 the amount of drug overdose deaths in St. Louis County last year was double the amount of murders in St. Louis city.

Agents said much of the violent crime is fueled by drugs. They also said that they are working to stop the flow of drugs into the country. 

The new strategy is being used in Pittsburgh, West Memphis and Milwaukee.

Why St. Louis?

"The answer to that question is simple, it's tragic as well," James Shroba, DEA, said. "We have to look at rising rates of violent crime, homicides, rising rates of opiate abuse, tragic number of heroin overdose deaths that began in 2008 and escalated."

Kelli Clodfelter's son, Jordan, died from a heroin overdose in November 2014. He was 17.

"The day I found out that Jordan used heroin was also the day I see my son on life support which was the end of his life," Clodfelter said.

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