Launched by District Attorney Williams, the Narcotics Unit of the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office is responsible for prosecuting significant narcotics cases in New Orleans.
This specialized unit including Assistant District Attorneys, support staff, and data analytics capabilities, will screen arrests on a case-by-case basis to best exercise prosecutorial discretion and maximize harm reduction amongst those defendants identified as suffering from substance use disorder.
OPDA recognizes that simple possession of narcotics arrests and felony convictions will not save the City of New Orleans from its major challenges in providing adequate mental health services or treatment for those suffering from substance use disorder. In an effort to combat these challenges, OPDA’s launched the Narcotics Division to work with City and State partners to ensure that drug abuse is treated as a disease and public health problem and not a criminal justice problem. In addition to using law enforcement resources when needed, this division will be responsible for bringing public health, City government and law enforcement leaders together to ensure that OPDA is taking a holistic approach to addiction and responding comprehensively to narcotics-related matters.
Some of the strategies of the Narcotics Division include: 1.) screening each narcotics-related arrest on a case-by-case basis to ensure attorneys are using prosecutorial discretion and maximizing resources to support those suffering from drug abuse, 2.) collaborating with OPDA’s Diversion Division to develop a “Second Chance Diversion Program” for first-time young non-violent drug distribution defendants, 3.) working with existing re-entry court models and best practices to focus on education, behavioral health and job placement of participants, 4.) coordinating with courts, Orleans Parish Public Defender’s Office and Sheriff’s Office to get those suffering from substance use disorder out of jail and into treatment, and 5.) prosecuting cases against serious drug dealers who prey on the sick and those struggling with addiction.