AG Sessions announces new data analytics program will target illegal opioid trade

Attorney General Jeff Sessions listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Monday, July 31, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions discussed the impact of the country's opioid epidemic during a speech in hard-hit Ohio, where about eight people a day are dying of accidental overdoses.

Sessions addressed officers and families affected by the crisis Wednesday in Columbus.

The AG announced that a new data analytics program will target pharmacists and doctors that are involved in the illegal opioid trade.

Sessions pointed to two instances in Ohio, including a doctor in New Albany that forfeited $29 million of drug profit to authorities.

More than 52,000 Americans died of overdoses in 2015 and experts believe the numbers have continued to rise.

Officials in Ohio say 3,050 people in the state died of overdoses in 2015.

In May, Sessions told federal prosecutors to pursue the most serious charges possible against most drug suspects.

The change undoes Obama administration policies aimed at easing prison overcrowding and showing leniency for lower-level drug offenders.

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