The DEA 360 Strategy takes an innovative three-pronged approach to combating opioid misuse through Law Enforcement, Diversion and Community Outreach.
Ciara Gregovich, with the State Opioid Task Force, says The DEA 360 Project is not about putting people in jail; those who go to jail are those who are involved in high density drug crime, not people struggling with addiction; but rather helping people stay away from the criminal system in the first place.
The project supports programs such as the Davis County Jail, which is starting a diversion program that offers people struggling with addiction another opportunity to find recovery through treatment rather than being criminally charged.
In Salt Lake County alone, Gregovich says there were approximately 14,000 confirmed overdose calls to 9-1-1 between 2016 and 2018. If you take that number and then you add a mom or a dad, and one or two siblings, a significant other, a child, an extended family member or friend you can really paint a picture of how many people the opioid crisis is affecting. She estimates from those 14,000 calls, 70,000 people in Salt Lake County have been impacted by substance abuse.
Gregovich says the Task Force also spends time educating the public through presentations and educational sessions throughout the state. She says, "We are working to visit every single county to help provide a discussion on the issue."
She says addiction is not an individualized problem, it is a community problem. She says we need to teach how to set boundaries, what are healthy vs. unhealthy relationships and create safety plans for ourselves to utilize when we are in crisis.
"I also encourage people to create a 'safe space' for people around them so if someone is need, they can come to them judgement free," says Gregovich.
You can find more information at: useonlyasdirected.org.