COLUMBUS – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Monday that he is awarding more than $2 million in grant funding to support local law enforcement in their work to disrupt the drug trade in Ohio and enhance their role in substance use awareness, prevention, and recovery.
Grants from Governor DeWine’s RecoveryOhio Law Enforcement Fund will be provided to 27 existing drug task forces to intensify their efforts to identify high-level drug traffickers; dismantle large drug trafficking organizations; interrupt the flow of money and drugs from Mexican cartels; and prevent the sale of illegal narcotics to those suffering from substance use disorder.
Funding will also be used to support the mission of Governor DeWine’s RecoveryOhio initiative which aims to increase substance use and mental health awareness, implement age-appropriate prevention education in schools, connect those who need help with treatment, and promote recovery.
"Ohio’s task force officers work day and night to identify and arrest the drug traffickers who are fueling addiction. These grants will help local authorities continue this important work, as well as expand law enforcement’s role in preventing substance abuse through prevention, education, and proactive outreach," said Governor DeWine.
Examples of programs that will be created or expanded with RecoveryOhio Law Enforcement Fund grants include:
METRICH Drug Task Force ($240,640.74) will use funds toward equipment for enforcement operations conducted in its 10-county region. Funds will also go toward creating new quick-response teams and expanding teams currently at work in their region. A 10-county billboard and radio awareness campaign will also be developed.
Metrich serves Richland, Ashland, Crawford, Knox, Hancock, Huron, Marion, Morrow, Seneca and Wyandot counties.
The Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task FOrce will receive $51,269. This agency also serves Knox County, as well as Coshocton, Licking, Guernsey, Muskingum and Perry counties.
Fairfield-Athens Major Crimes Task Force ($145,204.62) will use funds to target large-scale drug trafficking organizations trafficking methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, and other drugs. They will also host a statewide conference to highlight the benefits of coupling quick-response programs with drug enforcement. The conference will provide tools to drug task forces and service providers to help them implement quick response teams. They will also purchase naloxone kits for distribution to the public.
Lake County Narcotics Agency ($40,000) will use grant funds to target violent drug offenders and areas that have experienced violent drug-related crimes. Funds will also be used to develop a train-the-trainer drug education program for schools to enable school districts to provide awareness and prevention instruction.
Ottawa County Regional Task Force ($65,057.96) will use grant funds to hire a prevention officer to implement drug awareness and prevention programs in schools and youth organizations; implement a re-entry program to promote recovery and reduce recidivism among jail inmates approaching release; and implement training for first responders related to secondary trauma and mental health.
Westshore Enforcement Bureau ($52,331.54) will use funding to increase the number of students reached with prevention/education programs through their existing Westshore Young Leaders Network. Topics focus on substance use and mental health issues, including prevention of tobacco, alcohol, and drug use; bullying and suicide prevention; and positive decision-making.
A full list of award recipients can be found at www.governor.ohio.gov.
The program is being administered by the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services.
Additionally, separate funding secured in the 2019-2021 biennium budget is being used in partnership with Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost's Organized Crime Investigations Commission (OCIC) to create new cartel interdiction task forces and expand some existing major drug interdiction task forces. The Franklin-Madison Major Drug Interdiction Task Force, which previously operated only in Franklin County, received additional funding to work in partnership with authorities in Madison County. The Lucas-Wood Major Drug Interdiction Task Force, which previously operated only in Lucas County, will receive additional funding to work in partnership with authorities in Wood County. New task forces are in development.