Funding amounting to more than $2.4 million has been granted to agencies in the Southern District of Indiana to help combat drug and crime concerns stemming from the opioid crisis, US Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced Friday.
The grant funding is part of national awards of more than $333 million to help communities affected by the opioid crisis, according to the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs.
“The opioid crisis has destroyed far too many lives and left too many Americans feeling helpless and hopeless,” OJP principal deputy assistant attorney general Katharine T. Sullivan said in a statement. “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.”
The DOJ granted $2,446,664 to help public safety and public health professionals in the Indiana Southern District combat substance abuse, respond to overdoses and reduce related harm. Several cities, counties and organizations within the district were received funding, including:
- Indianapolis: $500,000 under the BJA’s Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program
- Marion County: $653,408 under the BJA’ Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program
- Evansville: $1 million under the Opioid Affected Youth Initiative
- Hancock County Community Corrections: $231,544 under the Adult Drug Court and Veterans Treatment Court Discretionary Grant Program
- Marion County Coroner’s Office: $61,712 under the National Institute of Justice Strengthening the Medical Examiner-Coroner System Program
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is pleased to provide support to agencies in the Southern District of Indiana through the Department’s Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program,” Minkler in said a statement. “This grant supports the Department’s criminal justice priorities of reducing opioid abuse and opioid overdose-related deaths.”
The federal money comes less than a month after the National Judicial Opioid Task Force, co-chaired by Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush, released a report with recommendations for the judicial response to the opioid crisis. Among the report’s findings was the fact that government agencies should recognize the judiciary as an equal partner in the fight against the drug scourge, including by allocating funds to judicial initiatives.