D.A. Cannizzaro announces two anti-opioid initiatives

New software, task force take aim at opioid tracking and death investigation

Thomas Perumean
November 11, 2019 - 5:00 am

District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro on Thursday announced two new initiatives to enhance New Orleans' fight to reduce opioid-related deaths.

First, the ODMAP (Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program): The software program collects and provides real-time overdose surveillance data to first responders across jurisdictions to support public health and public safety responses to high overdose activity.

"So much of New Orleans' street violence is linked to the trafficking of illegal narcotics, and yet overdose deaths recently surpassed the number of murders in our city," Cannizzaro said.

Second a two-year grant providing nearly $357,000 awarded to the D.A.'s office to bring enhanced resources speedily to bear in the death investigations at fatal overdose crime scenes.  

The proposed New Orleans Rapid Response Overdose Homicide unit combines a 24/7 on-call coroner's office investigator with a dedicated Orleans Parish assistant district attorney and a multi-jurisdictional case advocate to help assess, investigate and more efficiently prosecute narcotics dealers or providers responsible for overdose deaths.

Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Serpas has been tasked to review evidence gleaned from fatal overdose crime scenes and collaborate with the case advocate and federal partners at the U.S. Attorney's Office. 

Orleans Parish Coroner Dr. Dwight McKenna currently is seeking an experienced candidate to fill his new full-time investigator position funded through the grant.

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