(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced over $3.6 million in funding for 41 local law enforcement agencies to help their drug task forces enforce the state’s drug laws and combat illegal drug activity.
Grants from the 2022 Ohio Drug Law Enforcement Fund will support drug task forces that impact 67 counties on issues of drug trafficking, pharmaceutical diversion, and other organized criminal activity associated with the drug trade. The program, which is administered through the Office of Criminal Justice Services, is also intended to help local entities enhance the safety of Ohioans through multi-jurisdictional task forces.
“Ohio’s drug task forces play an absolutely critical role in removing drugs from the streets and holding drug traffickers accountable,” said Governor DeWine. “These grants are flexible so drug task force commanders can tailor their plans to the greatest benefit for their local communities.”
Funds can be used by agencies to investigate drug trafficking organizations and disrupt the drug supply through intelligence gathering, information sharing, and multi-agency coordination. Grants can also be used to support local work to help drug overdose victims and their families through education, support, and treatment options.
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The Ohio Drug Law Enforcement Fund is part of the Drug Interdiction, Disruption, and Reduction Plan that is funded through Ohio’s operating budget.
Today’s grants are in addition to several other initiatives developed under Governor DeWine to address the issues of drug trafficking and substance use disorder. Immediately after taking office in 2019, Governor DeWine signed an executive order creating the RecoveryOhio initiative to support aggressive measures to combat the opiate epidemic by investing in the health and well-being of Ohio citizens. Through the RecoveryOhio Law Enforcement Fund, local drug task forces have received millions to intercept illegal drugs and enhance their role in substance use awareness, prevention, and recovery. RecoveryOhio has also worked to expand access to specialized court dockets to give judges flexibility to place defendants with mental health or substance use disorders into treatment rather than sentencing them to jail.
Governor DeWine also created the Ohio Narcotics Intelligence Center in 2019 to support local law enforcement agencies in intelligence-focused drug trafficking investigations and secured funding for the development of several Major Drug Interdiction Task Forces that target trans-national drug trafficking cartels. The new Ohio Crime Lab Efficiency Program that Governor DeWine launched last month will also support local crime laboratories to help them efficiently analyze drugs associated with criminal investigations.