A new drug initiative on Staten Island aims to examine overdose deaths in an effort to track down drug dealers and offer support to victims’ relatives.
The Overdose Response Initiative, the first program of its kind in New York City, will coordinate and compile information from different official sources to find the origin of the drugs that lead to overdoses, Richmond County DA Michael E. McMahon stated.
The initiative’s multistep approach, which will be launched on March 1, begins when an overdose occurs. NYPD officers will complete an “overdose worksheet” about facts concerning the time, place and identity of the deceased and whether or not the victim had a cellphone, the district attorney said.
The NYPD will then attempt to obtain consent from the deceased’s next of kin to search the phone. If granted, the phone will be examined to establish common links with other incidents.
The response team will also interview the victim’s family, according to DA McMahon, in hopes of discovering the source of the fatal drugs.
All of this information, along with a toxicology analysis, will be compiled and relayed to the District Attorney’s Narcotics Bureau, which will then develop cases in conjunction with NYPD Narcotics Borough Staten Island.
“This initiative is a much needed response to a tragic crisis that is gripping Staten Island and destroying countless lives throughout the city,” Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan said in a statement.