Heroin and cocaine laced with fentanyl are killing drug users nationwide in staggering numbers, Saddle Brook Police Chief Robert Kugler said after joining Vice President Mike Pence at the White House to boost the L.E.A.D. (Law Enforcement Against Drugs) program.
"This was a great opportunity to let White House representatives know law enforcement is doing everything we can to enforce, reduce, prevent and educate our communities about drug abuse," said Kugler, who is L.E.A.D.’s national chairman.
Pence and Jim Carroll, the White House National Drug Control Policy director, spoke during a presentation in the Einsenhower Room on the grounds of the White House. at the formal podium in the Eisenhower room.
Thursday's gathering also included remarks from Special White House Advisor Kellyanne Conway.
Kugler and L.E.A.D. Executive Director Nicholas Demauro spoke at a breakout round table discussion with Carroll and his office representatives and other state drug control leaders.
The traditional war on drugs of strict enforcement and prosecution needs to be combined with early community and school-based education and prevention efforts – such as the L.E.A.D. program -- as well as rehabilitation services easily available and reachable by those in need, all agreed.
Kugler and Demauro led an 18-member contingent of board members, administrators and L.E.A.D. representatives from Florida, New Hampshire, Tennessee and New Jersey ( see photo below ).
Their primary concern was the rise in drug overdose deaths across the country.
National Drug Control Policy Office representatives pointed to the dangerous rise in both heroin and cocaine that is laced with fentanyl, which often produces fatal overdoses.
ABOVE: Vice President Mike Pence (COURTESY: Saddle Brook Police Chief Robert Kugler).
L.E.A.D. is the most rapidly-growing drug prevention organization in the U.S., De Mauro noted.
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