NEW ORLEANS (BRPROUD) — Baton Rouge is part of the first phase of a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) initiative aimed at fighting the rise of drug-related violent crime and overdose deaths across the country.

The initiative dubbed “Operation Overdrive” was launched on Feb. 1. According to the DEA, national crime statistics and CDC data were used to identify “hot spots” of drug-related violence and overdose deaths in the United States.

In Baton Rouge, the EBR Coroner’s Office reported 170 homicides in 2021. In the new year, 11 homicides have been reported as of Jan. 31. The number of fatal overdoses in the city during 2021 is up to 300, although that number could be higher as the coroner notes on his website, “We have numerous cases still pending toxicology test results at this time.”

“DEA’s objective is clear,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. “DEA will bring all it has to bear to make our communities safer and healthier, and to reverse the devastating trends of drug-related violence and overdoses plaguing our Nation. The gravity of these threats requires a data-driven approach to pinpoint the most dangerous networks threatening our communities, and leveraging our strongest levers across federal, state, and local partners to bring them down.”

“Drug trafficking and the wealth it generates are at the center of a significant number of violent
crimes happening every day across our nation. DEA, working side by side with federal, state,
and local law enforcement partners, have a unified objective: to make our communities a safer
and better place to live. We will remain committed to raising public awareness about the
dangers of illegal drugs and removing these harmful substances off the streets,” said DEA
Special Agent in Charge Brad L. Byerley.

New Orleans is another Louisiana city listed as an Operation Overdrive Phase I location. The DEA’s full list of U.S. cities in Phase I:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Bronx, New York
  • Buffalo, New York
  • Camden, New Jersey
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Columbia, South Carolina
  • Dayton, Ohio
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Flint, Michigan
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Jackson, Mississippi
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Miami Gardens, Florida
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Newark, New Jersey
  • Oakland, California
  • Peoria, Illinois
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Pine Bluff, Arkansas
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Richmond, Virginia
  • San Bernardino, California
  • St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Wilmington, Delaware