WASHINGTON (WTVQ) – The Department of Justice announced it is awarding almost $320 million to combat the opioid crisis in America.
They say the unprecedented funding will directly help those most impacted by the deadliest drug crisis in American history, including crime victims, children, families, and first responders.
In 2017, more than 72,000 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses, an increase from the 64,000 overdose deaths in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The majority of these deaths can be attributed to opioids, including illicit fentanyl and its analogues.
October marks two important anti-drug events: Red Ribbon Week and National Prescription Drug Takeback Day. Red Ribbon Week takes place every year between October 23-31 and encourages students, parents, schools, and communities to promote drug-free lifestyles. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, on October 27, aims to provide an opportunity for Americans to prevent overdose deaths and drug addictions before they start. DOJ expanded on DEA’s Drug Takeback Days and has collected more than 2.7 million pounds of expired or unused prescription drugs since April 2017.
The approximately $320 million awarded by the Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) will be distributed to maximize effectiveness across the country. A breakdown of the grant funding can be found here.
In the Eastern District of Kentucky, the following recipients received grant funding to combat the opioid crisis:
The Lexington Fayette Urban County Government received $500,000 for law enforcement and first responders to respond to overdoses.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services received $543,188 for the Commonwealth’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
The University of Kentucky Research Foundation received $1,000,000 to help local and state agencies leverage information from public health and public safety data and to analyze substance abuse issues and identify potential solutions from public health, treatment, and public safety perspectives.
The Northern Kentucky Legal Aid Society received $666,176 to help expand services for children and youth victimized as a result of the opioid crisis.
The Lexington Leadership Foundation, Inc., received $500,000 to create and provide mentoring services to children impacted by the opioid epidemic.
The Kentucky Administrative Office of the Court received $500,000 to enhance existing drug court programs.