I-Team: Feds ask public for help with opioid crisis

Local News

Federal agencies are partnering with Clear Channel Outdoor to ask the public for help in combating the proclaimed opioid crisis.  Ten billboards are expected in southern Nevada urging citizens to report information about prescription abuse.  

A press conference was held Wednesday morning at the local FBI Headquarters to announce the partnership with the advertising company and federal agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, and U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

One billboard reads: “Opioid Addiction Doesn’t Discriminate, Report Prescription Abuse, Tips.FBI.Gov.”

“Whether they are wearing a doctor’s coat, or they’re working on a street corner, we want to know who’s peddling opioids and harming this community,” said Aaron Rouse, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Las Vegas.

The I-Team has reported on concerns from physicians and pain patients, and how it affects them.  Some doctors say they fear they will be targeted by law enforcement if they prescribe pain medication.  

Patients say they are having difficulty getting their pain pills.  The I-Team brought up the issue at the news conference Wednesday.

“We’re not here to tell people what they should or should not prescribe,” Rouse responded.  “What we are here to say is that if you are committing an illegal act in the peddling of opioids, you’re going against the law and you’re going against community safety, and you will be stopped.”

One of the biggest and growing concerns identified by law enforcement is the powerful synthetic painkiller fentanyl.

“Fentanyl is an easy ingredient to be able to cut Fentanyl,” Dan Neill, Assistant Special Agent in Charge at the Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA said.  “It’s cheap.  It comes from China, through Mexico, and into the United States.”

The billboard campaign is expected to take place for at least one year, and the messages may be updated as information comes in.

According to the FBI, a similar campaign took place to combat human trafficking in southern Nevada.  Rouse said it received international attention and because of it, law enforcement received helpful tips.

You can report information anonymously at Tips.FBI.Gov.

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