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Federal Opioid Strike Force Hub Coming To Ft. Mitchell

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John Minchillo
/
AP Photo
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker shakes hands with Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan during a news conference, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, in Cincinnati.

Fort Mitchell will soon be home to a new initiative targeting the nation's opioid epidemic.

Acting U.S. Attorney General Matt Whitaker stopped in Cincinnati Friday to talk about the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force and made the announcement.

Whitaker says the hubs will allow prosecutors, special agents and other officials to investigate and prosecute cases in more rural areas.

"Each one of these new Assistant United States Attorneys will have their own team of federal investigators and law enforcement agents," Whitaker explains. "They'll also be mobile. If there's a small case that turns into a bigger case in a non-major city that most U.S. Attorney's offices reside in, they can prosecute that wherever they need to and they can give the resources to the local law enforcement and help take out the folks that are causing this death and despair and pain."

Newtown Police Chief and local heroin task force member Tom Synan says the strike force model is an expansion of this region's task force.

"We (are) going out to where the problem is and you're seeing that from the federal government," he says. "They're going to see what we see. They hear it from us but when they go out there and actually go on the street they'll hear it from the families; they'll hear it from the first responders. Those stories are powerful and those are the stories that we need to hear so we can make the changes that we need to make."

Tana Weingartner earned a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in mass communication from Miami University. Prior to joining Cincinnati Public Radio, she served as news and public affairs producer with WMUB-FM. Ms. Weingartner has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including several Best Reporter awards from the Associated Press and the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and a regional Murrow Award. She enjoys snow skiing, soccer and dogs.