Rep. Pascrell Announces $1.2 Million Anti-Heroin Grant for N.J. Law Enforcement
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), co-chair of the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus, announced $1,279,255 in Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant funding through the COPS Anti-Heroin Task Force Program for New Jersey.
“The national opioid epidemic has had a devastating impact on New Jersey families and communities," Rep. Pascrell said. "We must do all that we can to ensure people are receiving the care they need, while also ensuring that law enforcement officials have the resources to crack down on unlawful heroin and prescription opioid traffickers throughout our state. The funds announced today by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services will bolster public safety and public health officials ability to work together to not only improve the outcome of investigations, but also bridge the gap between overdose and treatment.”
The U.S. Department of Justice issued the grant funding today as part of their competitive grant program designed to advance public safety by providing funds to investigate illicit activities related to the distribution of heroin or unlawful distribution of prescriptive opioids, or unlawful heroin and prescription opioid traffickers through statewide collaboration.
Last year, Rep. Pascrell and fellow chair of the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus, Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) introduced the COPS Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2318). They were joined by original co-sponsors Pete King (R-NY), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Leonard Lance (R-NJ), John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Dan Benishek (R-MI), Richard Hanna (R-NY), and Charlie Dent (R-PA). The legislation, which would continue the COPS grant programs, helps provide funding to hire law enforcement officials, including school resources officers, to help solve problems before they escalate.
The COPS Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2318) would reauthorize and codify the Community Oriented Policing Services or COPS office within the Department of Justice. The bill would also expand current grant opportunities offered by the office to include the TROOPS-TO-COPS program providing for the hiring of former members of the Armed Services and a technology grant program focused on crime prevention. The funding also allows communities to take advantage of existing technologies that would not otherwise be available and ensures effectiveness and accountability.
COPS Anti-Heroin Task Force Program
The abuse of opioids, a group of drugs that includes heroin and prescription painkillers, has a devastating impact on public health and safety in this country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 129 Americans on average died from a drug overdose every day in 2014.1 Of the 47,055 drug overdose deaths in 2014, heroin was involved in 10,574 drug overdose deaths, while opioid analgesics were involved in 20,808 drug overdose deaths. The response to the opioid epidemic requires a seamless partnership between public health and public safety professionals. Each of these sectors has access to information that can improve the effectiveness of investigations –e.g., public health records on cause of death that can pinpoint the exact drug responsible for an overdose death; Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs data on prescribing patterns can help law enforcement target prescribers who operate outside ethical norms; public health data can tie overdose patterns to particular drug dealers, and the like. Collaborative work by public safety and public health can not only improve the outcome of investigations, but can help bridge the gap between overdose and treatment. As an example, local law enforcement agencies have stepped up across the US to implement protocols to transition overdose victims—mostly revived by the reversal drug naloxone—to treatment programs provided by the public health sector. It has also laid the groundwork for accurate assessment of drug trends which is critical to strategic deployment of investigative resources.
For more information about the COPS Anti-Heroin Task Force Program, please call the COPS Office Response Center at 800-421-6770, or visit the COPS Office online at www.cops.usdoj.gov.