Rapid-Response Overdose Unit to Prevent and Prosecute Opioid Related Crime Using New Technology and Public Health Collaboration (2019)

Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office (New Orleans, LA)

Population: 390,845 | Number of Full-Time Prosecutors: 57 | Contact Information

To curb the opioid epidemic, the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office received grant funding through Innovative Prosecution Solutions (IPS) to develop a Rapid-Response Overdose Homicide Unit, staffed by a dedicated prosecutor and a data analytics team from the Louisiana Public Health Institute. The Unit expedites and streamlines the collection evaluation of overdose crime scene evidence and generates intelligence.

The team has invested in field-capable Cellebrite technology, which will enable first responders to collect digital evidence from an overdose victim’s cell phone in real time. Evidence generated through mobile Cellebrite data and Homicide Unit investigations is relayed to the multiagency New Orleans Gang Task Force to enhance collaboration and build complex cases that target the area’s most prevalent drug trafficking organizations. Together, the IPS funded team is developing best practices for opioid overdose death investigations and evidence collection and creating an overdose death investigation information database accessible by law enforcement and prosecutors.