Federal authorities will go after 'darknet' marketplaces to attack opioid crisis, AG says

US attorney general speaks about opioid epidemic at SOUTHCOM in Doral

By Carlos Suarez - Anchor/Reporter

DORAL, Fla. - Health experts, law enforcement officials and representatives from several federal agencies were in South Florida Thursday for a conference focused on the growing opioid crisis. 

Officials with the Department of Justice, Homeland Security, State Department and several others were on hand to develop a plan to combat what President Donald Trump called a national public health emergency. 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was at the conference in Doral Thursday as he tours the state, highlighting the growing number of people in Florida falling victim to opioid abuse and overdosing on drugs. 

Sessions took part in a briefing with military, health and law enforcement officials at the U.S. Southern Command in Doral Thursday morning. 

He was in Tampa on Wednesday.

The attorney general's remarks touched on a number of issues involving the drug trade . 

The Trump administration has come under fire for not putting forth a strategy to address the issue. 

Recent data put the number of deaths related to the opioid epidemic at 115 every day. 

Sessions said federal investigators are going after "darknet" marketplaces -- computer networks used primarily for illegal file sharing, but where people are now buying illegal drugs. 

The administration has said enforcement, not treatment will be the U.S. response to the epidemic. 

"This country is facing a crisis that we've never seen, I don't think anything quite like it in my experience, and I believe we can do better about it," Sessions said. "If you look at the results, it is sort of breathtaking. Addiction -- people have to know the grip of opioid addiction is just difficult to comprehend by people who haven't seen it up close."

The conference is expected to last through the day. 

Sessions did not take questions from reporters after his opening remarks. 

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