The Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs recently announced awards of more than $333 million to help communities affected by the opioid crisis to combat substance abuse and respond effectively to opioid-related overdoses.
OJP Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan made the announcement during a visit with local, state and federal officials in West Virginia, one of the states hardest hit by the epidemic.
“The opioid crisis has destroyed far too many lives and left too many Americans feeling helpless and hopeless,” said PDAAG Sullivan. “This epidemic—the most deadly in our nation’s history—is introducing new dangers and loading public health responsibilities onto the public safety duties of our law enforcement officers. The Department of Justice is here to support them during this unprecedented and extremely challenging time.”
With more than 130 people dying from opioid-related overdoses every day, the Department of Justice has made fighting addiction to opioids—including heroin and fentanyl—a national priority. The Trump Administration is providing critical funding for a wide range of activities—from preventive services and comprehensive treatment to recovery assistance, forensic science services and research—to help save lives and break the cycle of addiction and crime.
The awards announced support an array of activities designed to reduce the harm inflicted by these dangerous drugs. Grants will help law enforcement officers, emergency responders and treatment professionals across the country coordinate their response to overdoses. Funds will also provide services for children and youth affected by the crisis and will support the nationwide network of drug and treatment courts. Other awards will address prescription drug abuse, expand the capacity of forensic labs and support opioid-related research
Adult Drug Court and Veterans Treatment Court Discretionary Grant Program
More than $44 million is being awarded nationwide to jurisdictions, academic institutions, and training and technical assistance providers to establish, expand, assist, and research the effectiveness of adult drug courts, including veterans treatment courts.
Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Program
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Program awarded $3 million nationwide to provide resources to state, local and tribal governments to create and enhance juvenile drug treatment court programs for youth in the justice system who have substance abuse issues, with a specific focus on opioid abuse.
Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grant Program
The Office of Justice Programs is making up to $17 million available to support forensic activities related to opioids under the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grant Program. The National Institute of Justice expects Coverdell grant funds to be used, in part, by medical examiners/coroners and forensic laboratories to address the dramatic increase in deaths and the backlogs of seized drugs as a result of the opioid crisis. Laboratories are overwhelmed with drug seizures and requests for toxicological analysis in opioid-related crimes and deaths, which in turn puts pressure on other laboratory sections. Also, medical examiners and coroners are required to conduct unprecedented numbers of autopsies and expend other resources in dealing with opioid deaths.
The Office of Justice Programs, directed by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan, provides federal leadership, grants, training and technical assistance, and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, assist victims and enhance the rule of law by strengthening the criminal and juvenile justice systems.
This is a press release from the US Department of Justice.