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The Journal Gazette

September 23, 2016 1:03 AM

State gets grant to fight meth, opioids

Ron Shawgo | The Journal Gazette

Nearly $1 million has been awarded to Indiana to fight the abuse and distribution of methamphetamine and opioids.

The grant is part of nearly $12 million the U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday it is distributing to several states to battle illicit drugs.

The Indiana State Police will receive $950,000 to address a significant increase in drug-related deaths in the state, according to a department news release.

There were 462 opioid-related deaths in Indiana in 2014, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. In 2013 and 2014, authorities seized more meth labs in Indiana than in any other state.

The grant money comes from the justice department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS. Indiana is getting $350,000 from the department’s Anti-Heroin Task Force Program, and $600,000 from its Anti-Methamphetamine Program. The grants were announced at the Indiana State Police Headquarters in Indi¬≠anapo¬≠lis.

“Heroin and opioid abuse is having a devastating impact on nearly every community in the United States,” COPS Director Ronald Davis said in the release. “The grants announced today will contribute to the administration’s overall strategy in combating this horrible epidemic. We look forward to working with all of the state law enforcement agencies that received funding today.”

ISP did not immediately respond to an email late Thursday afternoon seeking comment.

The COPS office is awarding about $5.7 million through the COPS Anti-Heroin Task Force Program to six state-level law enforcement agencies to investigate illicit activities related to the distribution of heroin or unlawful distribution of prescriptive opioids. The goal of the program is to address the trend of increases in heroin seizures and heroin-related overdose deaths.

Under the COPS Anti-Methamphetamine Program, more than $6.1 million will be awarded to eight state-level law enforcement agencies dealing with high seizures of precursor chemicals, finished methamphetamine and laboratories.

The agencies will use the money to investigate illicit activities related to the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine.