U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Using Social Network and Spatial Analysis to Understand and Address Fentanyl Distribution Networks in America’s Largest Port City

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $995,490)

In collaboration with the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD), the applicant proposes a researcher-practitioner partnership to implement and assess evidence-based policing strategies to disrupt fentanyl supply in the City of Long Beach, CA. Advanced strategies promote harm-focused, intelligence-led, problem-oriented, and evidence based (or HIPE) policing.

The proposed project asks: 1) Can a coordinated HIPE model help disrupt fentanyl distribution networks; and 2) Do targeted disruption efforts reduce low-level dealer recidivism, reduce fentanyl-related overdoses, and sustain network disruption? The five-step HIPE model is to conduct a problem scan, analyze the problem, nominate a strategy, deploy a strategy, and assess outcomes¯aka PANDA. The project goals are to employ the PANDA model using social network and spatial analyses to identify high-level distributors for investigation and prosecution versus other dealers for referral to rehabilitative services (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or LEAD).

The proposed project will fund LBPD to hire a research analyst supervised under the Drug Investigations Section, and trained by the Principal Investigator (PI) on social and spatial analyses of fentanyl distribution networks. Data will be collected via case files, calls for service, criminal history, coroner, and emergency department (ER) records, and deidentified for researcher evaluation tasks. Applying the PANDA model, they will 1) identify fentanyl distribution networks, 2) analyze case files and conduct social network and spatial analysis, 3) identify low-level drug users/dealers for diversion versus other distributors for investigation and prosecution, 4) review results with LBPD for targets, 5) deploy the strategy, and 6) assess process and outcomes. The process evaluation will identify barriers and facilitators to program implementation, and the outcome evaluation will document changes in recidivism, overdoses, and other outcomes with interrupted time series analysis.

"Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law," and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14). CA/NCF

Date Created: September 13, 2019