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Cleveland selected as 'DEA 360 city', gets additional resources to fight the opioid epidemic

Posted at 5:29 PM, Jul 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-22 18:17:19-04

CLEVELAND — Cleveland is now a DEA 360 city. The Drug Enforcement Administration selected Cleveland as one of six cities this year.

The designation gives the Cleveland area additional resources focused on preventing drug abuse, with an emphasis on education about the dangers of opioids.

“It is needed here,” said James Goodwin, Resident Agent in Charge of the DEA Cleveland Office.

DEA 360 is a new strategy with a three-pronged approach.

“The DEA 360 program brings it all together,” said Goodwin. “We have enforcement, diversion and now looking at community outreach,"

“It’s a multi-faceted problem,” said Fred DiMarco.

DiMarco’s son died two days before his 19th birthday in 2015.

"We can’t arrest our way out of it,” said DiMarco.

The designation comes as Ohio continues to struggle with the ongoing opioid epidemic.

In 2017, the most recent numbers available from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, show Ohio was second only to West Virginia with drug overdose deaths.

Since his son’s death, DiMarco has been on a mission to educate others about the problem.

“We need my friend, Peter. Prevention, education, treatment, enforcement and recovery,” said DiMarco. “Attacking this monster from multiple angles and sides is the only way."

The DEA rolled out the 360 strategy in 2016, adding several cities each year. This year, Cleveland joins the list of Los Angeles, New Orleans, Tampa, Flagstaff, Arizona and New Bedford, Massachusetts.

“I’m glad resources are being brought forward to Cleveland because it needs it, sad that it's being brought to Cleveland because so many are affected by it horribly,” said DiMarco.

The title of a DEA 360 city comes with resources from the agency, including its school curriculum program. It costs about $600,000 but since Cleveland is now a 360 city it is available for free to be used to educate parents, caregivers, students and educators about the dangers of opioids.

Additional information can be found here.