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Lowcountry DEA official optimistic about President Trump's opioid declaration

Opiate pain medication (File, WCIV)

The nation's opioid epidemic is getting attention from President Donald Trump. And law enforcement agencies are taking notice. They believe the President's declaration of a public health emergency will help their efforts.

President Trump's memorandum falls short of his promise to declare a national emergency on opioids. Still, it’s a big step forward for at least one federal officer who sees the dangers of the deadly drug almost every day.

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"It absolutely 100% helps us not only help get the word out. But helps raise awareness on where the problem starts and how we can avoid it," said Jason Sandoval, resident agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration office in Charleston.

Jason Sandoval understands the critical need to address the nation's opioid epidemic. He says too many people are dying because of it.

"We need to prioritize the issues that we're confronting on a daily basis. And I think this raises the heroin and opioid issue to the point of being a top priority for all of us," he said.

RELATED | Officials say Trump's opioid emergency won't mean new money

Federal officials say 142 people die every day in the u-s from opioid use. That's one of the reasons why federal officials say recognition from the president shines light on the epidemic.

"Now people know when we're out talking about this problem in the community our community part of the larger problem. And our community will also be part of the larger solution," Sandoval explained.

A solution to a deadly drug problem affecting Lowcountry families.

"This crisis is something we can no longer ignore," Sandoval said.

He suggests an important effort to get rid of drugs takes place Saturday. The 14th Annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day will happen at more than 60 locations across the state. Unused medicines can be dropped off safely without questions. To learn more, go to www.takebackday.dea.gov and click on the Collection Site icon.

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