Message    /
June 6, 2021

The Mission of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor of New York City

Thank you for your interest in learning about the office and mission of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for New York City.  The City is unique in many ways. Even its division into five different boroughs, each with its own elected District Attorney, is like no other city.   Our office is supervised by the five DAs. They send attorneys to staff our office and have appointed me, Bridget Brennan, as Special Narcotics Prosecutor.  

Our office is deeply committed to fairness in the criminal justice system and to reducing incarceration. The Mission of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor is to save lives and protect communities by preventing the widespread circulation of dangerous drugs, and by investigating violence associated with the drug trade. 

New York City is a main hub of international narcotics trafficking in North America. Our office focuses on serious felony crimes involving “hard drugs” like heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine, and related crimes like gun possession and assault.  This work is crucial as more people are dying of drug overdoses than ever before.

While distributing narcotics for profit is illegal, suffering from substance abuse is not.  Special Narcotics was one of the first prosecutors’ offices in the nation to develop Alternative to Incarceration programs aimed at helping those whose criminal activity is closely related to drug dependence.   We recognize that substance use disorder is a public health issue, and we support harm reduction strategies like needle exchanges and making Narcan widely available to reduce overdose deaths.  

  The office’s prosecutions concentrate on four key areas:

  • First, we dismantle top narcotics importation and distribution networks that smuggle large amounts of heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine into New York City.  We reduce incarceration by focusing on the highest level and preventing drugs from reaching low-level sellers.
  • Second, we investigate drug organizations armed with guns and involved in violence.  
  • Third, we work with communities to address entrenched drug selling operations that take over public spaces, and make neighborhoods feel unsafe.
  • Finally, we investigate and prosecute corrupt medical professionals who prescribe addictive medications in exchange for money, for no medical reason.  Those doctors who engage in illegally selling prescriptions can harm many people.

Through our work, we make New York City a safer place, and that is why this office exists.  The Mission of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor of New York City includes first and foremost an obligation to strive for justice in every aspect of our work.