Welcome to Operation Engage! I'm Brad L. Byerley, the Special Agent in Charge of the New Orleans Field Division.
We are all aware that there are too many fatal and non-fatal drug poisonings in our communities, and the numbers are tragically on the rise. The DEA has shifted toward community-level collaborative work to assist in lowering these levels through education and awareness.
Through Operation Engage, our division will focus on New Orleans, targeting the fentanyl and methamphetamine drug threats. Other components of Operation Engage include:
Stakeholder/Community Gatherings: To provide the latest information about drug trends, threats, and other pertinent information.
The DEA’s Citizens Academy: The DEA recognizes the importance of forging strong alliances with local communities and maintaining collaborative relationships with community leaders. The DEA’s Citizens Academy provides participants with an opportunity to learn more about federal drug law enforcement. As a result, they will be better able to understand the role that the DEA and the community play together in the fight against drug trafficking, drug abuse, and violence related to drugs.
Youth Engagement: As part of programs such as the DEA Educational Foundation Youth Dance Program and in collaboration with CADCA, children of all ages will be able to actively engage in age-appropriate activities geared toward learning and gaining the most information about drugs in an enjoyable manner.
Community Outreach Programs: A number of prevention strategies will be implemented by the New Orleans Field Division, including training and technical assistance for communities, coalition outreach, and prescription drug take back programs.
These are only a few of the many resources and opportunities we have available to share with our communities.
To learn more about the many resources we offer, I invite you and your families to explore our Operation Engage webpage. Families who learn about drug experimentation, misuse, addiction, and other related behaviors early in life are better able to prevent them from happening.
At your service, always,
Top Local Drug Threat
Local officials have identified the synthetic opioid fentanyl as the area's top local drug threat, followed by the stimulant methamphetamine (meth).
Here are a few quick stats:
Drug-involved deaths in Louisiana for the year of 2021 was 2,711. (Source: Louisiana Opioid Data and Surveillance System)
1,177 synthetic opioid poisoning deaths in 2021 in Louisiana, up from 708 in 2020 and 307 in 2019. (Source: Louisiana Opioid Data and Surveillance System)
927 stimulant-involved deaths in 2021 in Louisiana, up from 621 in 2020 and 372 in 2019. (Source: Louisiana Opioid Data and Surveillance System)
As of October 2021, homicide rates have increased 8.7% (105 deaths) from 2020 (Source: DEA Violent Crime and Overdose Reduction Strategy Threat Assessment 2021)
The city of New Orleans has supplementary incidents that further demonstrate the permeation of fentanyl such as: 1,159 drug violations, 4,046 violent crimes, 169 homicides, 125 fatal shootings, 630 nonfatal shootings, 261 car jackings, 377 armed robberies, 353 suspected fatal overdoses and 2,502 nonfatal overdoses. (Sources: NOFD 2020-2021 CAD Data; NOPD/OPSD Homicide Tracker; HIDTA OD MAP)
Emerging Drug Threat
There have also been a growing number of overdose deaths linked to Xylazine, (commonly referred to as "tranq"). This reported adulterant has been detected in an increasing number of illicit drug mixtures. Typically, it appears in mixtures containing fentanyl, but it has also been found in cocaine, heroin, and other drugs.
Xylazine has been reported in scientific and medical journals to cause depression of the central nervous system along with other adverse effects. Xylazine may be present in more illicit drug combinations than reported. Many jurisdictions do not toxicologically test for Xylazine, therefore there may be more unrecorded fatal overdoses.
Only a small amount of research has been done on xylazine, but uncorroborated reports have suggested it has similar effects to opioids.
Learn more about local drug use statistics:
Louisiana: Opioid-Involved Deaths and Related Harms
National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, Opioid Epidemic: Addiction Statistics
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a semi-synthetic opioid. It is 50-300 times more potent than morphine. Other semi-synthetic opioids such as morphine, codeine, and heroin are made with natural opium involved in synthesis. There are many analogs available and classified under the term “fentanyls”. One analog, carfentanil, is up to 10,000 times more potent than morphine.
Learn more about fentanyl by visiting the Fentanyl Fact Sheet or NIDA.
What is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine (also known as meth) is a stimulant that speeds up the body’s system that comes as a pill or powder. Available in prescription as Desoxyn® to treat obesity and ADHD. Crystal meth resembles glass fragments and is an illegally altered version of the prescription drug that is cooked with over-the-counter drugs in meth labs.
Learn more about meth by visiting the Meth Fact Sheet or NIDA.
One Pill Can Kill
The Drug Enforcement Administration warns the American public of the alarming increase in the lethality and availability of fake prescription pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine. International and domestic criminal drug networks are mass-producing fake pills, falsely marketing them as legitimate prescription pills, and killing unsuspecting Americans.
These fake pills are easy to purchase, widely available, and often contain deadly doses of fentanyl. Pills purchased outside of a licensed pharmacy are illegal, dangerous, and potentially lethal. This alert does not apply to legitimate pharmaceutical medications prescribed by medical professionals and dispensed by pharmacists. Read more.
See Related: Check out this Fake Pills factsheet.
Here is a list of upcoming local drug prevention events that you should mark on your calendar:
April 22, 2023 – National Take Back Initiative 24 (NTBI)
May 2023 – DEA Citizens Academy (Spring)
June 2023 – Faith and Community Summit
October 2023 – Red Ribbon Week
October 2023 – National Take Back Initiative 25 (NTBI)
November 2023 – 2nd Annual Family Summit in New Orleans
Here is a list of our community partners. Click on the links below to learn more about each.
Check out this list of community substance misuse prevention resources.
Looking for prevention resources specifically for young people? Go to the teen-focused site www.justthinktwice.com/. Here, they'll be able to get facts about drug use and learn ways to live a drug-free life.
In addition, check out these resources below:
Go to FindTreatment.gov to search for general drug treatment facilities in your area. On this site, you can find facilities that offer various payment options (including free and no-cost care), youth treatment facilities, special programs for Veterans, plus more.
Otherwise, enter your zipcode below to find substance abuse treatment facilities in your area.
To find local drug or alcohol treatment services, visit ATLAS
(Addiction Treatment Locator, Assessment, and Standards Platform)
Connect With Us!
Sign up for email updates about New Orleans' Operation Engage Initiative.
Stay up to date with the Operation Engage initiative in New Orleans by following: DEA New Orleans Twitter account @DEANewOrleans, and the hashtags: #OpEngageNewOrleans and #EngagewithNewOrleans.
Please DO NOT submit tips using the feedback form on this page.
Use the official tips page (https://www.dea.gov/submit-tip) to report what appears to you as a possible violation of controlled substances laws and regulations.
Tips submitted to the feedback form below WILL NOT be addressed.
DEA. 8 February, 2023. Operation Engage New Orleans. Retrieved from https://www.dea.gov/engage/operation-engage-new-orleans on 4 June, 2023
DEA. "Operation Engage New Orleans."Drug Enforcement Agency, 8 February, 2023, https://www.dea.gov/engage/operation-engage-new-orleans Accessed 4 June, 2023.
DEA. . Drug Enforcement Agency on DEA website. https://www.dea.gov/engage/operation-engage-new-orleans. 8 February, 2023. Accessed 4 June, 2023.