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DEA launches new 360 Strategy in Las Vegas to tackle opioid epidemic

Local leaders and the DEA announced the launch of a new program to tackle the opioid crisis
Posted at 6:03 PM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-19 15:29:41-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Jackie and David Siegel are on a mission to save lives.

"We didn't know our daughter was doing drugs," said Jackie. "Every time they're taking a drug from a street or taking too many pills or whatever it is that they're doing, they're playing Russian Roulette."

It's a game their daughter Victoria played and lost. She died of a heroin overdose four years ago at the age of 18, leaving behind a diary that revealed her struggles with depression, anxiety, self-worth and how drugs came into play.

"I feel that i know her more now - what was up here - now that's she passed on than when she was alive," said Jackie. A friend of their daughter's alerted them to the diary after Victoria's death - something Victoria asked her to do.

The Siegels -- David owns Westgate Resorts -- are launching a drug-free incentive program for teenagers in three Clark County School District high schools this year. The Victory Clubs are just one of the many non-profits the DEA is partnering with this year to tackle the opioid crisis locally.

One of the goals of 360 Strategy is to get to kids before they start.

"I need to go out into the community and have these conversations and not be afraid to talk about hey, 'This is what could happen. This is the cycle of what could happen to you if you do get addicted to drugs,'" said Dan Neill, the DEA's assistant agent in charge for the Las Vegas office.

Las Vegas is one of four cities across the country selected for a new program that aims to tackle the opioid epidemic, the DEA announced Tuesday. The program is called 360 Strategy and the DEA describes it as a collective response to the opioid epidemic. Neill said the prevention part of the program will involve local sports teams -- the Golden Knights, Raiders and UFC.

But the program is also aiming to engage with drug manufacturers, doctors and pharmacists to encourage responsible prescribing practices and targeting all levels of drug trafficking organizations, to get the drugs off the streets.

"For a while we were seizing 20,000 pills of Oxycodone thirty tablets laced with Fentanyl almost on a weekly or biweekly basis," said Neill. "It's too many. It's enough."

And while recent CDC numbers show drug overdose deaths have dropped slightly, drug overdoses are still on rise. The DEA is hoping 360 Strategy will help saves lives in Las Vegas.