NEW ORLEANS – At a press conference on Tuesday morning, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced a strategy to combat the heroin, prescription drug & violent crime crisis in greater New Orleans.
New Orleans will be the 16th pilot city to be part of a comprehensive law enforcement and prevention “360 Strategy,” designed to help cities dealing with the heroin and prescription drug abuse epidemic, and the violent crime that accompanies it.
Jefferson Parish and St. Bernard Parish will also be a part of this prevention strategy.
DEA New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Brad L. Byerley made the announcement, along with City of New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, members from other local and federal agencies and organizations in law enforcement, substance abuse and prevention and treatment, and community outreach.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Byerley said,
“While the opioid epidemic rages on in communities across America, killing over 130 people a day, DEA continues to find new and innovative ways to address this growing health problem and the violent drug trafficking it breeds. DEA’s 360 Strategy makes use of every community resource available to reach young people and attack the heroin and prescription drug epidemic at every level. This comprehensive approach unites everyone who has a stake in making New Orleans and the surrounding communities safer for our families.”
The DEA 360 Strategy utilizes a three-fold approach to fighting drug traffickers:
- Provide DEA leadership with coordinated DEA enforcement actions targeting all levels of drug trafficking organizations and violent gangs supplying drug in our neighborhoods, as we have been doing with ongoing law enforcement operations.
- Have a long-lasting impact by engaging drug manufacturers, wholesalers, practitioners and pharmacies to increase awareness of the heroin and prescription drug problem and push for responsible prescribing and use of these medications throughout the medical community.
- Change attitudes through community outreach and partnership with local organizations following DEA enforcement actions, to equip and empower communities with the tools to fight the heroin and prescription drug epidemic.
The 360 Strategy brings together many experts in substance abuse and prevention to address four key groups by engaging in dialogue and providing information and resources to educate young people about the consequences of drug abuse and trafficking.
- Parents/caregivers in the home
- Educators and the classroom
- After school organizations and athletic associations
- The workplace.
In the short term, the goal of the 360 Strategy is to provide as much information as possible in many different forms to reach young people.
Officials will form a “Community Alliance” comprised of key leaders from law enforcement, prevention, treatment, the judicial system, education, business, government, civic organizations, faith communities, media, social services, and others.
This will form the core of a long-term group that will cross disciplines to help carry the prevention and treatment messages to the local population during the critical post-operation timeframe.
In the future, DEA and its partners also plan to host multi-day summits to bring community leaders together to look for sustainable, impactful efforts to address drug abuse, addiction, trafficking and the violence that accompanies it.