Drug Enforcement Administration

New Jersey

Valerie A. Nickerson, Special Agent in Charge

June 07, 2018

Contact: Timothy P. McMahon

Phone Number: (973) 776-1100

DEA announces “360 Strategy” in Newark to address heroin, prescription opioids and violent crime

(Newark, N.J.) – The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced today at a press conference that the City of Newark has been designated to be part of a comprehensive law enforcement, diversion control, and community outreach/prevention “360 Strategy” to help cities dealing with the heroin and prescription drug abuse epidemic, and its associated violent crime.  DEA New Jersey Division Special Agent in Charge Valerie A. Nickerson made the announcement today with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, U.S Attorney Craig Carpenito, and the medical and faith based community.

“New Jersey is facing a heroin and prescription opioid abuse epidemic like we have never seen before, and Essex County has been leading the state in overdose deaths for the past two years.  The DEA 360 Strategy aims to bring together the expertise of law enforcement, the medical community, drug prevention and treatment partners and other experts to address this problem that is wreaking havoc across our state,” said Nickerson.

The DEA 360 Strategy is comprised of a three-pronged approach to fighting drug trafficking and stemming abuse:

  • Enforcement –  Keeping drugs out of the community by reducing the drug supply and holding those accountable who are distributing drugs to those struggling with addiction; Coordinated efforts against drug traffickers and those committing violent crime in our communities;  
  • Diversion Control  - Holding those accountable within the medical community who are over prescribing and operating outside the scope of practice and law; Long-term engagement with pharmaceutical drug manufacturers, wholesalers, pharmacies, and practitioners; and
  • Community Outreach  - Pursuing a robust prevention and outreach effort at the community level.  By partnering with grassroots initiatives and coalitions in the City of Newark as well as with corporate and faith based partners, medical professionals, government and community organizations we plan to proactively promote and establish sustainable programs to address the current crisis of heroin / opioid drug overdoses in our communities.

“This current epidemic is not something that law enforcement can tackle on its own.  We have to work with our partners not only in law enforcement, but with educators, religious leaders, the medical community, those in prevention and treatment, and corporate partners,” Nickerson said.  
As part of the DEA 360 Strategy for Newark, the DEA in conjunction with the Newark Police Department and the Newark Public Schools has already implemented the Newark Cares program, an initiative to address early childhood trauma; provided a 10 week after school dance program for students at the Chancellor Avenue, Speedway Academies, and Luiz Munoz Marin schools, and is working to establish a municipal alliance in Newark with the purpose of implementing a drug and alcohol prevention program.  There is also a plan for DEA and its partners to host a youth summit for Newark students to educate them on sustainable and impactful efforts to address drug misuse and abuse.
DEA will also be working with national and local partners at the grass roots level on the 360 Strategy.  Please see the attached list of our partners.

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