(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Elijah E. Cummings, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Anthony G. Brown, John K. Delaney and Jamie Raskin (All D-Md.) have announced that the Maryland State Police will receive a grant of $2,544,800 through the Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) to support law enforcement agencies in combating the illegal manufacturing and distribution of methamphetamine, heroin, and prescription opioids.
The funds come from the Anti-Heroin Task Force Program (AHTFP), a competitive grant program that provides two years of funding directly to law enforcement agencies in states with high per capita levels of primary treatment admissions for heroin and other opioids. Maryland was one of 17 states awarded funding this week. According to DOJ, these grants will support the location or investigation of illicit activities related to the distribution of heroin or the unlawful distribution of prescription opioids. AHTFP grants are managed and dispersed through COPS, the component of the U.S. Department of Justice responsible for advancing the practice of community policing through information sharing and financial assistance.
“There is no simple answer to the opioid crisis, which has touched every corner of our state, but we do know that it takes partnership at all levels of government, and all available resources, to stem this tide of opioid addiction and abuse,” said Senator Cardin. “The COPS Program continues to actively support Maryland and our communities in need. I’ll keep fighting to ensure the federal government remains an aggressive partner in Maryland’s fight to combat the opioid epidemic.”
“As Maryland and states across the country work to combat this public health crisis, they need a partner in the federal government. This funding will help our state combat opioids and will provide crucial resources to fight this epidemic. That’s why I have strongly supported this funding and will continue fighting for this program in the Senate. But we are only getting started. Together, we must keep fighting for prevention, treatment, and recovery services for individuals struggling with substance abuse and other mental health issues. We won't stop until we've ended this scourge and addressed the terrible personal and economic toll that the opioid epidemic and substance abuse takes on our communities," said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committees.
“I’m pleased that the Department of Justice has awarded this grant funding to the state of Maryland,” said Congressman Hoyer. “These funds are an important step in addressing this crisis and will further help our law enforcement agencies tackle the heroin and opioid epidemic, which has affected thousands of families in our state. I am a strong proponent of the Community Orientated Policing Services Program, which brings together law enforcement and health providers, a critical partnership in addressing the drug epidemic. I look forward to continuing to work with our local law enforcement, health care providers, and other stakeholders to better address the opioid crisis.”
“As a lifelong resident of Baltimore, I’ve seen the destructive nature of opioid and heroin addiction, which destroys lives and tears apart families and communities,” said Congressman Cummings. “The over $2.5M in grant funding for the Maryland State Police will be vital in combating the illegal manufacturing and distribution of heroin and prescription opioids in Maryland.”
“As an Appropriator, I fought the White House’s efforts to gut the COPS program, successfully restoring full funding in the Commerce, Justice and Science funding bill,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “Now, Maryland is getting a piece of the pie, helping our state law enforcement crack down on heroin manufacturing and distribution in our communities. The COPS program is the type of investment in the basics that our constituents want us to prioritize.”
“This new federal grantmaking commitment will help boost Maryland’s efforts to tackle the opioid epidemic,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “In addition to providing local and state law enforcement with the resources they need to reduce the availability of heroin and other opioids, we must continue fighting this terrible crisis by expanding addiction treatment and recovery services in communities across Maryland and around the country.”
“There isn’t a zip code in Maryland that hasn’t been harmed by opioids and giving law enforcement the resources they need to crack down on illicit and illegal activity is an important part of ending this terrible crisis. There is strong bipartisan support for this program because it delivers federal assistance to the local agencies so that they can do their essential work,” said Congressman John K. Delaney.
“I applaud the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services’ decision to send over $2.5 million to Maryland's police to help stem the flow of illegal opioids to our state. Like much of the country, my district is suffering from this epidemic, and relies heavily upon federal aid for local and state law enforcement officers who are working on the ground, in our communities,” Congressman Brown said. “I am proud to support this federal funding and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services; they are essential partners in our fight against the opioid epidemic.”
“I am pleased that the Department of Justice has awarded this crucial funding to Maryland to help us combat the opioid crisis affecting so many people in our state,” said Congressman Raskin. “It will help Maryland State Police curb the illegal manufacturing and distribution of heroin and prescription opioids. But we can’t stop there. We have to work together with local law enforcement, health care providers, medical researchers, and other community members to work to stop prescription abuse and to end this devastating epidemic and help everyone affected by it.”
Earlier this week the President signed into law H.R. 6, the “Substance Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act,” also known as the “SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act.” The legislation reauthorized a number of key law enforcement programs important to Maryland through the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), such as the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), drug courts, the COPS Anti-Meth Program, and the COPS Anti-Heroin Task Force Program.