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Fentanyl symposium to feature experts in enforcement, prevention, treatment

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Fentanyl will be the focus of an event next week in Morgantown that will bring national experts to West Virginia to identify solutions to the substance abuse crisis.

Top officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, and the U.S. Border Patrol will be featured at the West Virginia Fentanyl Symposium, to be held on March 24. The audience will be filled with prosecutors, sheriffs, and police chiefs from throughout the state.

Speakers at the event will include Raymond Donovan, Chief of Operations at the DEA, who will address the Mexican cartel threat to the United States. Dr. Grant Baldwin, head of overdose prevention for the CDC, will discuss his agency’s response to the current crisis. Best-selling author Ben Westhoff, who penned the book “Fentanyl, Inc.”, will share his research on the fentanyl factories in China. The complete agenda can be found at https://www.ahidta.org.

“Fentanyl is widely available, highly addictive and causing damage to West Virginia unlike any other drug ever has,” said William Ihlenfeld, United States Attorney for the Northern District. “It’s critical that we hear from the best and the brightest as we fine tune our approach to enforcement and prevention.”

“A tragic number of West Virginians are losing their lives to fentanyl-related overdose deaths, devastating families and communities,” said Will Thompson, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District.  “The West Virginia Fentanyl Symposium provides a valuable opportunity for us to learn from law enforcement, prevention and treatment leaders and to further sharpen our “all hands on deck” response to the opioid epidemic.”   

Drug task force commanders will participate in a separate track, to share best practices and new trends in drug trafficking, and to finalize a statewide fentanyl enforcement strategy.

The invitation-only event is sponsored by the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area with support from the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Northern and Southern Districts.

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