DEA Holds Inaugural Family Summit on the Overdose Epidemic

Published 7:34 am Thursday, June 16, 2022

WASHINGTON – On June 14 and 15, DEA Administrator Anne Milgram hosted the first-ever DEA Family Summit on the Overdose Epidemic for families from across the country who have experienced the profound loss of a child due to a drug overdose or poisoning. Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco delivered the opening remarks.

“Last year alone, over 100,000 people lost their lives to drug overdose or poisoning—over 100,000 people whose lives mattered and whose lives were taken too soon” said Deputy Attorney General Monaco. “Arrests and prosecutions alone will not change the trajectory of this devastating epidemic. In addition to using every law enforcement tool at our disposal, the Department of Justice must invest in prevention and education. This summit provides the Department with the opportunity to inform those efforts directly from those who are using their own tragedies to save the lives of others.”

“There are no stronger or more compelling voices to raise awareness about the extreme threat of dangerous drugs than of those who have suffered the unimaginable loss of a loved one to a drug overdose or poisoning,” said Administrator Milgram. “Together, we can save lives, keep our communities safer and healthier, and work to reverse this devastating overdose epidemic.”

Drug-related deaths are plaguing the nation and killing Americans at an unprecedented rate. In the last year, nearly 108,000 people have died of drug overdoses, with fentanyl and methamphetamine driving this record number. Criminal drug networks exploit the anonymity and accessibility that social media apps enable to push deadly drugs into American communities faster, easier, and cheaper.

The Family Summit seeks to advance public awareness efforts in our communities to reverse the overdose epidemic and save lives from tragic drug overdose deaths. The families and family-led non-profit organizations joined with the U.S. Department of Justice, DEA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Partnership to End Addiction to discuss the scope of current drug threats, learn how together we can further amplify community prevention efforts, and identify additional areas for future collaboration.

The Family Summit included sessions led by DEA Chief of Operations Ray Donovan; DEA Los Angeles Division Special Agent in Charge Bill Bodner; Captain Michelle Kim Leff of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, and Dr. Christopher Jones of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Dr. Fred Muench and Denise Mariano of the Partnership to End Addiction. In addition, the Summit offered various other opportunities for families to share their stories, engage in structured and unstructured discussion to exchange ideas, and explore awareness and prevention resources offered by DEA.

DEA is committed to making the Family Summit an annual event to bring together our partners and the families and community groups working to raise awareness of the extreme drug threats facing our country.

Opening remarks from the Family Summit on the Overdose Epidemic are available here.

Families and parent organizations impacted by the overdose epidemic who are interested in registering with DEA to join in DEA’s awareness efforts, please complete the Advocates for Change form and submit it to familyoutreach@dea.gov.

For resources to help parents talk to their kids about the dangers of drug use, please visit the Get Smart About Drugs website.

If you or someone you know needs help with substance use or mental health disorders, please visit DEA’s Recovery Resources page for list of resources.