USC Aiken's Signature Speaker to Discuss Opioid Epidemic
Acting Head of DEA to Share Insights Feb. 5
Aiken, SC (01/15/2019) — The University of South Carolina Aiken announced Uttam Dhillon, acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, as the featured guest for the Chancellor's Signature Speaker Series, Feb. 5, at 7:30 p.m., in the Etherredge Center. The event is free and open to the public.
Dhillon's presentation, "Drug Enforcement Agency Programs Targeted at Reducing U.S. Opioid Epidemics," will provide insight on the current opioid epidemic plaguing the nation. He will include information on what actions DEA is taking and what each citizen can do in their communities and homes to prevent, mitigate and eradicate the harmful effects.
"We are pleased to welcome Mr. Dhillon to the university and to Aiken," said Dr. Sandra Jordan, USC Aiken chancellor.
"He will undoubtedly provide us all with critical information on what we can do right here in our homes to help DEA's efforts."
A 2017 consensus study report by National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine highlighted that "national trends indicate that each year more people die of overdoses-the majority of which involve opioid drugs-than died in the entirety of the Vietnam War, the Korean War, or any armed conflict since the end of World War II."
For some patients, qualified physicians prescribe opioids for legitimate pain management. However, a significant portion of balancing societal benefits and risks of illegal prescription opioid is within the Drug Enforcement Agency's (DEA) portfolio.
The Department of Justice and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration have proposed a reduction for controlled substances that may be manufactured in the U.S. next year. Consistent with President Trump's "Safe Prescribing Plan" that seeks to "cut nationwide opioid prescription fills by one-third within three years," the proposal decreases manufacturing quotas for the six most frequently misused opioids for 2019 by an average ten percent as compared to the 2018 amount.
Revised limits will encourage vigilance on the part of opioid manufacturers, help DEA respond to the changing drug threat environment, and protect the American people from potential addictive drugs while ensuring that the country has enough opioids for legitimate medical, scientific, research, and industrial needs.
Jordan instituted the Chancellor's Signature Speaker Series when she first arrived at USC Aiken, seven years ago. Each spring semester, she aims to bring national and international thought leaders to campus to help inform students, faculty, staff and the CSRA about high-level issues, policies and national trends.
Dhillon was appointed acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration on July 2, 2018 by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
In 2006, Dhillon was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the first director of the office of counternarcotics enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security. In that role, he worked closely with other federal agencies to coordinate the federal government's anti-drug efforts. Prior to DHS, Dhillon served as an associate deputy attorney general in the United States Department of Justice where he led the development of the department's anti-gang efforts as chair of the Attorney General's Anti-Gang Coordination Committee, developed policies and procedures for resolving federal law enforcement jurisdictional conflicts over terrorist-related explosives investigations, served as a member of the Attorney General's Review Committee on Capital Cases, and was appointed executive director of the President's Board on Safeguarding Americans' Civil Liberties.
Earlier in his career, Dhillon served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Central District of California for more than six years. In that role, he directed complex investigations of major narcotics trafficking organizations and gangs. Dhillon successfully prosecuted cases involving narcotics trafficking, money laundering, alien smuggling, and gun possession crimes. He also argued multiple appeals before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Dhillon's complete bio can be found at: https://www.dea.gov/dea-leadership .