Legislators announce $2.5 million grant to fight opioids
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.