Washington Division Special Agent in Charge Jarod A. Forget and Richmond District Office (DO) Assistant Special Agent in Charge Christopher C. Goumenis are pleased to announce that Richmond, Virginia has been chosen for Operation Engage.
Operation Engage is a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) community outreach initiative. Operation Engage is a comprehensive and collaborative community-level approach that will address the drug epidemic by facilitating conversations and collaborating with communities and partners. As we all know, there are far too many non-fatal and fatal overdoses affecting our communities, and sadly, these numbers are increasing each year. In response, DEA has moved toward community-level collaborative efforts to help reduce these numbers through education and awareness, using our wide range of resources.
Through Operation Engage, the Richmond DO will focus on the city of Richmond and its surrounding metro areas targeting the fentanyl and methamphetamine drug threat that plagues our communities. Other components of Operation Engage include:
- Stakeholder/Community Gatherings: The Richmond DO will collaborate with community stakeholders within the city of Richmond. Together, our community stakeholders will actively participate in determining the problems and needs, develop solutions, and implement and evaluate interventions. This comprehensive approach will draw on existing human, financial, and material resources to strengthen self-help and community participation in drug prevention initiatives.
- Adult/Community Engagement: The Richmond DO is committed to improving opportunities for prescription drug take backs through quarterly take back events in partnership with several different businesses throughout the metro area. These added drug take back events will effectively double the opportunities currently offered by DEA. Additional adult and community trainings will be offered throughout the year to continue the engagement conversation beyond community events.
- The DEA’s Citizen Academy: The Richmond DO recognizes the importance of forging strong alliances with local communities and maintain collaborative relationships with community leaders. The DEA’s Citizen Academy offers participants the opportunity to understand the world of federal drug law enforcement and the important role the DEA and the community together, play in combating drug trafficking, drug misuse, and related violence
- Youth Engagement: Continuing our partnership with the DEA Educational Foundation (DEAEF), the Richmond DO will collaborate with DEAEF to implement Dr. Kristy McDowell’s Baby Scientist Program for students in the city of Richmond public schools. This Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics virtual program aims at helping students find a connection between science and the effects of drugs on the body through hands on experiments. Additional sports and arts programming through the DEAEF will present the opportunity for youth to participate in healthy alternatives to drugs and violence. Finally, the Richmond DO will partner with the Young Marines and create a unit in the area with approved volunteers, who will teach children the importance of teamwork, leadership, discipline, and living a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.
- Community Outreach Programs: The DEA and the Richmond DO, along with stakeholder involvement, will concentrate efforts in the neighborhoods most affected by fentanyl and methamphetamine use. In those targeted communities, the Richmond DO will participate in facilitating prevention strategies to include, but not limited to, drug prevention, training and technical assistance for communities, coalition outreach, and prescription drug take back events to name a few.
These are only a few of the many resources and opportunities we have available to share with our communities.
We invite you, and your families, to explore our Operation Engage webpage to learn about the many resources we have available. Learning as a family, early on, is the first step in avoiding drug experimentation, drug misuse, drug addiction, and all related behaviors that are plaguing our communities.
Thank you in advance,
Christopher C. Goumenis
Assistant Special Agent in Charge
Top Local Drug Threats
The city Richmond has been dealing with a drug overdose crisis, especially within the past year with a 150% overdose rate increase. In 2019, there were 60 fatal opioid overdoses reported in the city of Richmond. In 2020, that figure increased to 155.
Non-fatal overdoses are also on the rise in Richmond, Virginia, jumping 50% between 2019 and 2020. The Virginia Department of Health shows the deadly toll in Central Virginia: 128 people died in the city of Richmond from an overdose in the first half of 2021; 89% from Fentanyl.
Additionally, methamphetamine seizures as well as seizers of fentanyl mixed with methamphetamine in Richmond have sharply increased.
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.
Check out our local and national organizations that provide services to the public regarding addiction, community empowerment, drug education and prevention, drug take back programs, recovery, and overall health and wellness.
Boys & Girls Club Richmond
Broken Men Foundation
Central Virginia Better Business Bureau
Challenge Discovery Projects
Chesterfield Police Department
Community Coalitions of Virginia
Elks Drug Awareness Program (DAP)
Friends of Prevention Coalition
Girl Scout Troop 5023
Hanover Cares Coalition
Henrico Police Department
Mount Olivet Church
National Prevention Network
Office of the Attorney General - Richmond, VA
Regional Drug Free Alliance
Richmond Behavioral Health Authority
Richmond City Sheriff’s Office
Richmond Police Athletic League
Richmond Police Department
Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority
Richmond U.S. Attorney's Office
RVA C.O.O.K.S Program
RVA Hope Silent No More - Richmond, VA
Silent No More- Richmond
The Fix Ministry
The McShin Foundation
Virginia Department of Health
Virginia National Guard
Check out our youth prevention partners.
Richmond Police Athletic League
Boys & Girls Club Richmond
Looking for more information geared towards youth? JustThinkTwice.com is an additional teen-based prevention resource with great information about drug use and the importance of remaining drug free.
The DEA Richmond District Office will be hosting a number of community events for and with our partners across the City of Richmond this year under Operation Engage.
- Art Afterschool Program
- “Baby Scientist” STEM program events
- Basketball Afterschool Program
- Baseball Afterschool Program
- Dance Afterschool Program
- The Young Marines
- “Baby Scientist” STEM program
- Drug prevention presentations and assemblies for local schools
- Red Ribbon presentations and activities for schools
- Silence No More Presentations
- Training for School Resource Officers
- Trainings for parents, grandparents, and caregivers, and students
- Workplace Prevention Resources training
- Signs of Youth Drug Abuse training
- Cultural Training
- Community Town Hall Meeting
- Current drug trends & digital resources trainings
- Local drug trends & public safety resources for community groups
- DEA Citizens Academy
Interested in partnering with us for an event in your community? Email our Community Outreach coordinator Kaylyn.M.Wood@dea.gov for inquiries or more information.
- Local Stakeholder Meetings
- Business Roundtable Discussions
- Speaking engagements for Prevention and Coalition partners
- Drug awareness campaigns with local sports teams
- Drug Take Back Days
- Red Ribbon Week Activities
Connect with Us!
Sign up for email updates about Richmond's Operation Engage Initiative.
Stay up to date with the Operation Engage initiative in Richmond by following: the DEA Washington DC Twitter account @DEAWashingtonDC, and the hashtags:
#OpEngageRVA and #EngageRVA
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. 15 March, 2022. Operation Engage Richmond. Retrieved from https://www.dea.gov/engage/operation-engage-richmond on 26 May, 2023
DEA. "Operation Engage Richmond."Drug Enforcement Agency, 15 March, 2022, https://www.dea.gov/engage/operation-engage-richmond Accessed 26 May, 2023.
DEA. . Drug Enforcement Agency on DEA website. https://www.dea.gov/engage/operation-engage-richmond. 15 March, 2022. Accessed 26 May, 2023.