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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
In the past few months, we have seen COVID-19 ravage communities throughout our country. While we continue to combat the virus, another longstanding epidemic continues: illegal drug use, distribution, and sales. Working the front lines in our nation’s defense against illegal drug distribution systems and the Mexican cartels continuously places our law enforcement officers at risk. The impact of illegal drug sales is far-reaching and includes gun violence, homicide, and extortion; human trafficking; and placing law enforcement in the deadly path of these ruthless drug operators.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 67,367 individuals died from overdose deaths in the United States in 2018. Opioids were involved in 46,802 of those deaths.1 In addition, thousands of other deaths are attributed to methamphetamine and heroin use.
Law enforcement has been on the front lines of the battle to combat this scourge, and the COPS Office has been behind them all the way, providing support through programs such the COPS Anti-Methamphetamine Program (CAMP) and the COPS Office Anti-Heroin Task Force (AHTF) Program. These competitive grant solicitations are open to state law enforcement agencies with multijurisdictional reach and interdisciplinary team (i.e., task force) structures in states with high levels of drug addiction or enforcement activity.
This year, the COPS Office will award approximately $13 million in three-year CAMP grants to support states with a large number of seizures of precursor chemicals, methamphetamine, and laboratories. State law enforcement agencies will use the funds to locate or investigate illicit activities related to the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine (including precursor diversion, laboratories, or methamphetamine traffickers).
The AHTF grants will support law enforcement organizations in states that have high per capita rates of drug treatment admissions by providing approximately $35 million in grants during 2020. Each grant provides law enforcement agencies with up to $4 million over a three-year period. The funding supports the investigation of illicit activities related to the distribution of heroin, fentanyl, or carfentanil or the unlawful distribution of prescription opioids.
As can be seen in this month’s Dispatch, law enforcement agencies across the nation are having notable success in reducing the manufacture, distribution, and use of illegal drugs with the support of CAMP and AHTF funding. The Wisconsin Department of Justice used its grant to develop a statewide network of task forces that were responsible for 322 drug seizures in the first quarter of 2019 alone. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation established an opioid “Take Back” initiative that collected more than 68,000 pounds of prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
The COPS Office is pleased to support law enforcement through CAMP and AHTF, and we applaud our grant recipients’ efforts.
– Director Keith
1. Holly Hedegaard, Arialdi M. Miniño, and Margaret Warner, Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999–2018, NCHS Data Brief No. 356 (Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 2020), https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db356-h.pdf.
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