DEA launches initiative to keep drugs off Kalamazoo streets, reduce overdoses –

Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety investigates a shooting near El Sol Academy in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on Tuesday, October 12, 2021. (Joel Bissell | MLive file photo)Joel Bissell |
KALAMAZOO, MI — A new effort to get drugs off the streets of Kalamazoo is underway.
Operation Engage Kalamazoo launched Thursday, March 10, to address drug trafficking, violence and crime reduction in the community, according to a press release from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Operation Engage is a federally funded, community-level approach to address the drug epidemic, the DEA release said. Kalamazoo was chosen as the second location for the program among communities served by the Detroit Field Division.
“As we all know, there are far too many non-fatal and fatal drug overdoses affecting our communities and, sadly, these numbers are increasing,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Kent Kleinschmidt. “In response, Operation Engage is a community-level collaborative approach to help reduce these numbers through education and awareness, using our wide range of resources.”
According to the DEA, 78% of Michigan drug overdose deaths in 2018 involved at least one opioid. Local authorities have identified opioids, including prescription painkillers, fentanyl, and heroin, and prescription stimulants and methamphetamine as the state’s top drug threats, the DEA said.
The goals of the program are to identify local drug threat enforcement priorities and substance use trends, support and contribute to local prevention efforts and bridge local public safety and public health efforts, the release said.
The program connects DEA field offices with the local community, leverages the federal intelligence to build awareness of local drug threats and support local drug-free community coalitions and public health and prevention leaders, the release said.
The Detroit Field Office also currently works with community partners in Michigan’s Chippewa County and with the Bay Mills Indian Community in the eastern Upper Peninsula, the release said.
The program launched Thursday with a virtual stakeholders meeting that included faith leaders, health, law enforcement, public safety, education, prevention and other interested professionals.
For more information about the initiative and local resources, visit
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