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Indian Affairs Says Burning Man Traffic Stops Are To Stop Opioid Epidemic

Federal authorities insist that traffic stops taking place south of the Burning Man event site are not intended to harass festival participants. 

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs told the Reno Gazette-Journal Wednesday that the stops are part of a larger effort to crack down on a nationwide opioid epidemic on tribal lands. 

Since late last week, both BIA and tribal police from the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe have been pulling over dozens of vehicles passing through tribal lands on State Route 447, the only main road to and from the Burning Man event site. 

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More than 60,000 people are expected to be traveling the route this week and through the weekend, according to Burning Man organizers. The event officially begins Sunday and lasts through September 3. 

The crackdown effort is part of the U.S. Department of Interior’s Opioid Reduction Task Force, which was created in the past year by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to help achieve President Donald Trump's mission to end the opioid epidemic in the U.S.