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DEA Community Strategy for DC, MD, VA

From Southern Maryland News Net

Launch of New DEA Community Strategy Targeting Overdose Issue Across D.C., Maryland and Virginia

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has launched a new comprehensive law enforcement and prevention initiative through the DEA Washington Division, aimed at reducing drug use, abuse, and overdose deaths.

“Operation Engage” allows participating field divisions to focus on the biggest drug threat and resulting violence in their respective geographic areas.

The initiative builds on and replaces past strategies aimed resources specifically at opioids, and allows the DEA Washington Division to combat the more complex overdose, drug, and related violence issues in the tristate area through area-focused, community-centered, customized plans and direct resources to target the drug threats that present the greatest threat to public health and safety in its jurisdiction.

“Operation Engage is our new, cutting-edge initiative to combat the horrific drug and overdose epidemic we are seeing across our area,” said Jarod Forget, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Washington Division. “Through direct collaboration and engagement with our local community members and partners, we can and will better target these local drug threats, provide sustainable, customized education, prevent illicit drug use, and more effectively tackle these issues that are so gravely affecting our area families and neighborhoods.

Recent statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control 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. Communities in the DMV area have been particularly hard hit by this trend.

Overdose deaths involving fentanyl have increased over 100% across D.C., Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) in the past year. A record number of overdose deaths have been seen across the country and in the DMV, almost 90% of all of the drug-related overdose deaths recorded were opioid (including fentanyl) –related. The impact of COVID-19 on our area has accelerated the overdose problem significantly.

The DEA works every day to target and take down the drug trafficking organizations flooding American communities with illegal drugs. But confronting this public health crisis requires a comprehensive and targeted strategy to reduce demand in our local communities.

The Operation Engage initiative encourages partnerships with healthcare professionals, businesses, schools, communities, and social service organizations to provide comprehensive solutions and assist in providing long-term assistance and support for building drug-free communities.

The DEA Washington aims to help DC, Maryland, and Virginia communities unite in the fight to end drug abuse by increasing drug education and prevention efforts through customizable, specialized, and sustainable campaigns.

For more information, visit our local Operation Engage webpage at dmv.dea.gov or https://www.dea.gov/operation-engage of contact Katherine Hayek, Public Information Officer, at WDOPIO@usdoj.gov for zoom interview availability with SAC Jarod Forget.

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