The Department of Justice now has a more expedited means of hiring specialized personnel to address the criminal elements of the opioid epidemic, as the Office of Personnel Management announced July 12 that it issued a direct hiring authority.

“The president has declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency, and OPM takes that very seriously,” said Margaret Weichert, acting director of OPM in a news release. “We are doing everything we can to ensure that every agency has the tools they need to combat this crisis.”

Direct hire authorities are traditionally granted to federal agencies by OPM and enable them to hire job applicants while going around certain requirements in federal code, such as competitive rating and ranking, veterans' preference and numerical rankings to determine the top three candidates.

The DOJ direct hire authority, which is part of broader White House efforts to prioritize addressing opioid addiction in the country, would apply to the United States Attorneys’ Offices, the Criminal Division and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“The crisis of addiction in America continues to impact families, communities and economies in every corner of our country. That’s why the Trump administration has implemented a whole-of-government approach with our federal, state, local and tribal partners, to tackle this epidemic and achieve our ultimate goal of saving lives,” said Jim Carroll, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy in the news release.