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White House Drug Policy Adviser Plans Mass. Talk

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R. Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

R. Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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TAUNTON, Mass. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Edward Markey is set to join President Barack Obama’s drug czar in Massachusetts to discuss ways of curbing fatalities caused by prescription drug abuse and an epidemic of heroin deaths this year.

Markey and R. Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, will be in Taunton on Monday to methods that have proven effective in combating drug-abuse fatalities.

Instead of continuing to focus on solutions through law enforcement, Kerlikowske’s office is pushing for expanding access to drug treatment and providing naloxone, an anti-overdose drug.

Kerlikowske’s office is also emphasizing treating addiction as a brain disease. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers prescription drug abuse to be an epidemic.

Local leaders, first responders and treatment providers will join Markey and Kerlikowske at the discussion.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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