- Associated Press - Friday, December 2, 2016

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The top federal prosecutor for central and northeastern Pennsylvania is outlining a new effort to combat the prescription painkiller and heroin epidemic.

U.S. Attorney Bruce Brandler of Pennsylvania’s Middle District says opioid cases, particularly those resulting in death, will take “the highest priority” and will be “prosecuted aggressively to ensure maximum deterrence.”

Brandler said in a news release that his office will aggressively prosecute “rogue health care providers, pharmacists and pharmaceutical employees” in addition to drug traffickers.

The prosecutor released a strategy memo this week that includes elements focusing on prevention and treatment.

The U.S. Department of Justice issued a national opioid strategy in September and ordered each U.S. attorney’s office to come up with a local strategy.

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