Overdose Response Initiative
The Overdose Response Initiative was created to address the crippling drug crisis on Staten Island by investigating overdose deaths in an effort to root out drug dealers and offer supportive services to grieving families. The unique initiative’s multi-step approach will work as such:
- When a drug overdose death occurs, NYPD patrol supervisors/desk officers will notify RCDA personnel immediately. During that notification, information will be gathered about the deceased. Additionally, a responding ADA will complete an “Overdose Worksheet’ questionnaire regarding the death scene – providing date and time of discovery; who discovered the deceased, and did the deceased have a cell phone on his/her person.
- If the deceased had a cell phone on his/her person, the NYPD will voucher said phone for investigatory purposes and attempt to obtain consent to search the phone from the next of kin.
- If consent is obtained, a search of the phone will be done and information recovered will be compared to other incidents to establish common links and examine similarities.
- The information obtained on the initial questionnaire will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Narcotics Bureau, which will assign an Overdose Response Team (comprised of an ADA, designated D.I.’s/Detectives, and a Community Advocate) to reach out to the family. The Overdose Response Team will interview the family in a sensitive and caring manner in hopes of discovering the source of the drugs that killed their loved one. The response time for speaking with the family will vary on a case by case basis taking into account individual circumstances.
- Medical Examiner’s Office will do a full toxicology work-up on the deceased to determine whether the death was solely the result of drugs or if an additional factor such as a cutting agent played a role.
- The Community Advocate will assess what kinds of services, if any, the family might need going forward following this tragedy.
- Once the family visit is complete, all compiled intelligence will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Narcotics Bureau who will develop cases in conjunction with NYPD Narcotics Borough Staten Island and other investigative units at District Attorney’s office.
Additionally, anyone with information regarding illegal narcotics can anonymously submit a report or call the RCDA Drug Hotline at (718) 876-5839. Information that can help build strong investigations and prosecutions includes: