RALEIGH – U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was in Raleigh Tuesday afternoon to address the opioid crisis at the Federal Building.

The event was not open to the public, but Sessions said in a room full of law enforcement officials that federal officials are ready to take new steps in the fight against the epidemic.

The first step is being proposed by the DEA, allowing them to set opioid production limits for companies that it believes are allowing their drugs to be diverted for misuse. This is aimed at aiding in investigations into drug transactions.

Attorney General Sessions says big actions like this need to happen in order to stop the trend of increased drug deaths each year.

"64,000 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses in 2016 – the highest drug death toll and the fastest increase in that death toll in American history," said Sessions. "That’s more than enough people to fill Carter-Finley Stadium. Imagine that: it’s as if the entire crowd at a Wolfpack game were to die from drug overdoses in one year."

The U.S. Attorney for North Carolina's Eastern District also announced today that a Pembroke North Carolina doctor was found guilty of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute oxycodone during his three years of practice.

In North Carolina from 1999 to 2016, more than 675 million painkillers were dispensed, and in a third of North Carolina's 100 counties. The number of fatal drug overdoses in the state also increased 440 percent.

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