Leg­is­la­tors an­nounce $2.5 mil­lion grant to fight opi­oids

Sunday Star - - LOCAL -

WASH­ING­TON — U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, and Con­gress­men Steny H. Hoyer, Eli­jah E. Cum­mings, C.A. Dutch Rup­pers­berger, John P. Sar­banes, An­thony G. Brown, John K. De­laney and Jamie Raskin, all D-Md., have an­nounced Mary­land State Po­lice will re­ceive a grant of $2,544,800 through the Depart­ment of Jus­tice Of­fice of Com­mu­nity Ori­ented Polic­ing Ser­vices to sup­port law en­force­ment agen­cies in combating the il­le­gal man­u­fac­tur­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion of metham­phetamine, heroin and pre­scrip­tion opi­oids.

The funds come from the Anti-Heroin Task Force Pro­gram, a com­pet­i­tive grant pro­gram that pro­vides two years of fund­ing di­rectly to law en­force­ment agen­cies in states with high per capita lev­els of pri­mary treat­ment ad­mis­sions for heroin and other opi­oids. Mary­land was one of 17 states awarded fund­ing this week.

Ac­cord­ing to DOJ, these grants will sup­port the lo­ca­tion or in­ves­ti­ga­tion of il­licit ac­tiv­i­ties re­lated to the dis­tri­bu­tion of heroin or the un­law­ful dis­tri­bu­tion of pre­scrip­tion opi­oids. AHTFP grants are man­aged and dis­persed through COPS, the com­po­nent of the DOJ re­spon­si­ble for ad­vanc­ing the prac­tice of com­mu­nity polic­ing through in­for­ma­tion shar­ing and fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance.

“There is no sim­ple an­swer to the opi­oid cri­sis, which has touched ev­ery cor­ner of our state, but we do know that it takes part­ner­ship at all lev­els of govern­ment, and all avail­able re­sources, to stem this tide of opi­oid ad­dic­tion and abuse,” Cardin said. “The COPS Pro­gram con­tin­ues to ac­tively sup­port Mary­land and our com­mu­ni­ties in need. I’ll keep fight­ing to en­sure the fed­eral govern­ment re­mains an ag­gres­sive part­ner in Mary­land’s fight to com­bat the opi­oid epidemic.”

“As Mary­land and states across the coun­try work to com­bat this pub­lic health cri­sis, they need a part­ner in the fed­eral govern­ment,” said Van Hollen, a mem­ber of the Se­nate Bud­get and Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tees. “This fund­ing will help our state com­bat opi­oids and will pro­vide cru­cial re­sources to fight this epidemic. That’s why I have strongly sup­ported this fund­ing and will con­tinue fight­ing for this pro­gram in the Se­nate.

“But we are only get­ting started. To­gether, we must keep fight­ing for pre­ven­tion, treat­ment, and re­cov­ery ser­vices for in­di­vid­u­als strug­gling with sub­stance abuse and other men­tal health is­sues. We won’t stop un­til we’ve ended this scourge and ad­dressed the ter­ri­ble per­sonal and eco­nomic toll that the opi­oid epidemic and sub­stance abuse takes on our com­mu­ni­ties.”

Ear­lier this week, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump signed into law H.R. 6, the “Sub­stance Use Dis­or­der Pre­ven­tion that Pro­motes Opi­oid Re­cov­ery and Treat­ment for Pa­tients and Com­mu­ni­ties Act,” also known as the “SUP­PORT for Pa­tients and Com­mu­ni­ties Act.” The leg­is­la­tion reau­tho­rized a num­ber of key law en­force­ment pro­grams im­por­tant to Mary­land through the Of­fice of Na­tional Drug Con­trol Pol­icy, such as the High In­ten­sity Drug Traf­fick­ing Area, drug courts, the COPS Anti-Meth Pro­gram and the COPS Anti-Heroin Task Force Pro­gram.

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