Ohio Grants Police Drug Task Forces More Than $2M to Combat Trafficking

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The State of Ohio on Monday awarded 27 law enforcement task forces more than $2 million in grants to disrupt the drug trade and promote awareness, prevention and recovery.

Gov. Mike DeWine held a presentation at the Ohio Statehouse for the announcement of the RecoveryOhio Law Enforcement Fund, according to a press release.

DeWine tweeted, “Ohio’s drug task forces work day & night to investigate drug traffickers who are fueling addiction. Today I announced that $2M in extra funding will be going to 27 #Ohio drug task forces thanks to the new #RecoveryOhio Law Enforcement Fund that was part of the #OHBudget.”

DeWine in March 2019 released the RecoveryOhio Advisory Council’s Initial Report that makes recommendations on how to address the public health crisis – mental health and substance use.

The RecoveryOhio Council issued more than 70 recommendations in the areas of stigma, parity, workforce development, prevention, harm reduction and more.

The grants announced on Monday aim to help police identify high-level drug traffickers; dismantle large drug trafficking organizations; interrupt the flow of money and drugs from Mexican cartels; and prevent the sale of illegal narcotics to those suffering from substance use disorder.

Also, funds will support RecoveryOhio.

“Ohio’s task force officers work day and night to identify and arrest the drug traffickers who are fueling addiction,” DeWine said. “These grants will help local authorities continue this important work, as well as expand law enforcement’s role in preventing substance abuse through prevention, education, and proactive outreach.”

A full list of grant recipients is available here.

A few examples include:

  • Fairfield-Athens Major Crimes Task Force ($145,204.62) will target large-scale drug trafficking organizations trafficking methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, and other drugs. They will host a statewide conference to highlight the benefits of coupling quick-response programs with drug enforcement.
  • METRICH Drug Task Force ($240,640.74) will use funds toward equipment for enforcement operations conducted in its 10-county region. Funds will also go toward creating new quick-response teams and expanding teams currently at work in their region.
  • Ottawa County Regional Task Force ($65,057.96) will hire a prevention officer to implement drug awareness and prevention programs in schools and youth organizations; implement a re-entry program to promote recovery and reduce recidivism among jail inmates approaching release; and implement training for first responders related to secondary trauma and mental health.
  • Westshore Enforcement Bureau ($52,331.54) will increase the number of students reached with prevention/education programs through their existing Westshore Young Leaders Network. Topics focus on substance use and mental health issues, including prevention of tobacco, alcohol, and drug use; bullying and suicide prevention; and positive decision-making.

Also, separate funding secured in the 2019-2021 biennium budget is being used in partnership with Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s Organized Crime Investigations Commission to create new cartel interdiction task forces and expand existing task forces, DeWine said. The Franklin-Madison Major Drug Interdiction Task Force, which previously operated only in Franklin County, received additional funding to work in partnership with authorities in Madison County.

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.

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