WASHINGTON, USA – The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has launched comprehensive law enforcement and prevention support initiative aimed at reducing drug use, abuse, and overdose deaths. “Operation Engage” allows participating field divisions to focus on the biggest drug threat in their respective geographic areas.
The initiative builds on and replaces DEA’s 360 Strategy, which aimed its resources specifically at opioids, and allows field divisions to customize plans and direct resources to target the drug that presents the greatest threat to public health and safety in their jurisdictions. The following 11 field divisions submitted proposals that were approved for the initial round of funding: Detroit, El Paso, Los Angeles, Miami, New England, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Washington, Seattle, and St. Louis.
“Working alongside our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, as well as specialists in prevention, treatment, and education, we are raising awareness to make our communities safer,” said DEA Acting Administrator D. Christopher Evans. “We will help empower individuals, families, and communities to do their part to help reduce the demand for drugs and get help for those who need it.”
The goals of Operation Engage are to:
- Identify the drugs that affect individuals and families in the designated areas
- Identify evidence-informed strategies that best fit community needs
- Identify and eliminate local drug threats in every field division
- Support and contribute to local drug use prevention efforts
- Bridge local public safety and public health efforts
- Build on the success of DEA 360 and expand Operation Engage nationwide in 2022
Recent statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show an alarming rise in drug overdose deaths, with synthetic opioids driving record-high fatalities. The vast majority of deaths involve illicitly manufactured fentanyl, including fentanyl analogs.
There has also been an increase in availability of methamphetamine, which is linked to violent crime. DEA works every day to target and take down the drug trafficking organizations flooding American communities with these illegal drugs. But confronting this public health crisis requires a strategy to reduce demand in those communities.
The Operation Engage initiative encourages partnerships with healthcare professionals, as well as engagement with community and social service organizations best positioned to provide long-term assistance and support for building drug-free communities.