I am William Bodner, Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles Field Division and I’d like to welcome you to Operation Engage!
As we all know, there are far too many non-fatal and fatal drug overdoses affecting our communities, and sadly, these numbers are increasing. 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, our division will focus on Southern California, targeting the fentanyl drug threat. Other components of Operation Engage include:
- Stakeholder/Community Gatherings: To share the latest information about drug trends, drug threats, and other related pertinent information.
- The DEA’s Citizens Academy: DEA recognizes the importance of forging strong alliances with local communities and maintaining collaborative relationships with community leaders. The DEA’s Citizens 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: Through programs like the DEA Educational Foundation Youth Dance Program and in collaboration with CADCA and the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, children of all ages will be able to actively participate in age-appropriate activities, designed for them to learn and gain the most knowledge about the dangers of drugs in a fun way.
- Community Outreach Programs: DEA, along with stakeholder involvement, will concentrate efforts in the communities most affected by fentanyl use. In those targeted communities, the Los Angeles Field Division 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.
I 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.
Always at your service,
Top Local Drug Threat
Local DEA officials have identified fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, as the area's top drug threat.
In California, there were over 3,200 opioid-related deaths in 2019. Approximately half were due to fentanyl.
Learn more about how the opioid epidemic is affecting specific counties in Southern California on the California Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard.
Los Angeles County
- All drug-caused deaths in 2020: 2,357 (a 63% increase from 2019)
- Those involving fentanyl in 2020: 1,173 (50% of total)
- All drug-caused deaths from January through April 2021: 827
- Those involving fentanyl from January through April 2021: 454 (55% of total)
- All drug-caused deaths in 2020: 667 (a 46% increase from 2019)
- Those involving fentanyl in 2020: 279 (42% of total)
- All drug-caused deaths from January through April 2021: 231
- Those involving fentanyl from January through April 2021: 116 (50% of total)
According to an article by National Institute of Justice, violent crimes wreak a terrible impact not only on individual victims, their families, and friends but also on nearby residents and the fabric of their neighborhoods. Exposure to violent crime can damage people’s health and development, and violence can push communities into vicious circles of decay.”
The rates of violent crime in the United States have declined significantly over the past 20 years. Disadvantaged neighborhoods have experienced larger drops in crime, although significant disparities persist. However, in Los Angeles although crime statistics report an overall downward trend in crime based on data from 21 years with violent crime decreasing and property crime decreasing. The city violent crime rate for Los Angeles in 2019 was higher than the national violent crime rate average by 92.97% and the city property crime rate in Los Angeles was higher than the national property crime rate average by 12.96%.
In 2019 the city violent crime rate in Los Angeles was higher than the violent crime rate in California by 65.94% and the city property crime rate in Los Angeles was higher than the property crime rate in California but only by 2.24%.
Through Operation Engage, the LAFD plans to implement and deliver programming in several hot spots within LA County and Riverside County to create awareness and educate on drug trends, current threats and support local substance abuse prevention efforts. Together, we will emphasize prevention efforts among youth through mentorship, leadership development, and training parents on trauma informed and removing the stigma of mental health. We will focus on high risk, high crime and high drug usage cities within both counties.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine. Pharmaceutical fentanyl was developed for pain management treatment of cancer patients, applied in a patch on the skin. Because of its powerful opioid properties, fentanyl is also diverted for abuse.
Fentanyl is added to heroin to increase its potency, or be disguised as highly potent heroin.
Many fake pills, created to look to legitimate prescription medication, contain dangerous and sometimes deadly amounts of fentanyl.
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 counterfeit 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 Counterfeit Pills factsheet.
Check out this list of local 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.
Here is a list of our local Operation Engage partners.
Los Angeles County, Department of Public Health
Los Angeles Sparks
Mentor Foundation USA
Safe Med LA Coalition
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Senator Melendez Office-Riverside
Tarzana Treatment Centers
Looking for local prevention resources specifically for young people? Check out this list below:
Day One trains middle school, high school, and college students to be positive role models, ambassadors for healthy lifestyles, and informed and engaged members of their communities.
Based on the social influence model, which has been determined by CSAP, NIDA, OJJDP, US Department of Education as an effective prevention approach, youth are educated about
public and community health issues - such as understanding the health impacts of poor diet, alcohol/drug use, and sedentary lifestyles - and how to effect positive, lasting change in their
communities. Our program also covers techniques to resist social pressures, support others in making healthy choices, and determining positive alternatives.
Day One Pasadena Youth Advocate Program
Meets every Wednesday at 4 pm
bit.ly/DayOneYA (case sensitive)
Instagram Account: @day1do
Day One Pomona Youth Advocate Program
Meets every Wednesday at 4 pm
Instagram Account: @dopomona
Day One El Monte Youth Advocate Program
Meets every Wednesday at 4 pm
Instagram Account: @dopomona
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.
What is Naloxone?
Naloxone is an opioid receptor antagonist that rapidly binds to opioid receptors, blocking heroin from activating them. An appropriate dose of naloxone acts in less than 2 minutes and completely eliminates all signs of opioid intoxication to reverse an opioid overdose.
Finding Naloxone in LA
Due to the statewide standing order, Californians can get naloxone without a prescription at pharmacies across the state.
See where you can find the anti-overdose drug here.
Date: Aug. 21, 2022
Time: 10am - 2pm
Where: Curtis Tucker Center, 123 W. Manchester Blvd. Inglewood, CA 90301
Join us for free haircuts for children 4 to 18 years old (basic haircuts, no designs), as well as school supplies, vision screening, music, food, and coronavirus testing and vaccinations. Individuals wishing to be vaccinated have the option of signing up in our portal or manually filling out paperwork:
For more information, please call 213-259-9083.
The Fundamentals of Fatherhood Program is accepting Fathers, Father figures, and Expecting Fathers for our Nurturing Fathers Curriculum cohorts in English and Spanish. The classes are FREE, and held online via zoom.
Participants must complete enrollment in-person. The group is located at the Ron Arias Health Equity Center at 6335 Myrtle Ave., Long Beach, CA 90805. If you have any questions or to enroll, please contact Mr. Arles A. Benavides via phone at 562-570-3285, via e-mail at Arles.Benavides@longbeach.gov or visit our website www.longbeach.gov/fatherhood and click on the 'Enroll Now' button to submit your contact information.
When: These classes (cohorts) are year-round. They start cohorts every month.
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. PST
Food is a basic need. For many people who turn to substance misuse, one of the main concerns is dealing with stress factors such as lack of food.
L.A. County has the resources to help. Find out where you or your family can get free food near you.
"Together at Home" DEA Youth Dance Program
During the pandemic, the DEA Youth Dance Program didn't miss a beat. Instructors continued to teach classes virtually to young people across the nation, providing them a healthy activity to express their creativity throughout a challenging time.
Visit the site below to learn more about the program: https://www.deaeducationalfoundation.org/youth-dance-program
Connect With Us!
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. 16 December, 2020. Operation Engage Southern California. Retrieved from https://www.dea.gov/engage/operation-engage-southern-california on 4 October, 2022
DEA. "Operation Engage Southern California."Drug Enforcement Agency, 16 December, 2020, https://www.dea.gov/engage/operation-engage-southern-california Accessed 4 October, 2022.
DEA. . Drug Enforcement Agency on DEA website. https://www.dea.gov/engage/operation-engage-southern-california. 16 December, 2020. Accessed 4 October, 2022.