Ohio to Award $3 Million to Help Law Enforcement Agencies Combat Statewide Illegal Drug Activity

Governor Mike DeWine announced on Thursday that Ohio is awarding $3 million in new grant funding to local law enforcement agencies to support their drug task forces’ fight against illegal drug activity and to uphold the state’s drug laws.

According to DeWine, the funding will “support local authorities” as they work to take illegal drugs out of communities across the state.

Altogether, funding from the 2023 Ohio Drug Law Enforcement Fund will assist drug task forces working in 42 counties to combat drug trafficking, prescription theft, and other organized crime related to the drug trade. The Ohio Drug Law Enforcement Fund is part of the Drug Interdiction, Disruption, and Reduction Plan that is funded through Ohio’s operating budget.

The program, which is run by the Office of Criminal Justice Services, also aims to support regional organizations in improving the safety of Ohioans by forming multi-jurisdictional task forces.

According to the governor, this funding is essential to help law enforcement agencies keep illegal drugs out of Ohio.

“No one knows better than local law enforcement the effects that drugs have on their own communities. This funding will support our local authorities as they work to take drugs off the streets,” DeWine said.

The Cleveland Division of Police, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Mansfield Police Department, and Summit County Sheriff’s Office received the highest awards receiving 137,000 each to support their efforts against illegal drug activity.

The Brown County Sheriff’s Office, Hardin County Sheriff’s Office, and SPAN Drug Enforcement Unit received the lowest awards receiving $5,000 each.

Agencies may use funds for intelligence gathering, information exchange, and multi-agency collaboration to look into drug trafficking networks and stop the flow of drugs. Agencies can also use the grants to fund regional initiatives that provide information, support, and treatment alternatives for those overdosed on drugs and their families.

The awards announced on Thursday are in addition to many other programs created under DeWine to address the problems of drug trafficking and substance use disorders throughout the state.

After taking office In 2019, DeWine immediately signed an executive order establishing the RecoveryOhio project to support drastic steps to address the opioid crisis by funding Ohioans’ health and well-being.

Local drug task teams have received millions through the RecoveryOhio Law Enforcement Fund to intercept illicit substances and strengthen their involvement in substance use awareness, prevention, and recovery.

To provide judges the discretion to sentence offenders with mental health or substance use disorders to treatment rather than jail time, RecoveryOhio has also fought to increase access to specialist court dockets.

Additionally, DeWine secured funding for the establishment of several Major Drug Interdiction Task Forces that focus on transnational drug trafficking cartels and established the Ohio Narcotics Intelligence Center to assist regional law enforcement agencies in intelligence-focused drug trafficking investigations.

The governor announced this grant funding mere weeks after the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation identified some confiscated drugs as “rainbow fentanyl” for the first time in the state.

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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Mike DeWine” by Mike DeWine. 







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