ISP gets nearly $1 million to help fight drug epidemic

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The United States Department of Justice announced Thursday afternoon funding in grants for a dozen states nationwide to combat the growing drug epidemic.

Indiana is one of the states on the list slated to get $950,000 for Indiana State Police. The funds will be divided into two separate grants from the USDOJ Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).

ISP will receive $5.7 million for an Anti-Heroin Task Force Program. Through this grant, ISP is hoping to purchase drug detecting tools called TrueNarc. Each unit costs about $20,000. ISP is hoping to buy three of them. The system will be used for troopers in the field to better identify drugs like fentanyl-laced heroin.

"It’s a very sophisticated piece of equipment that uses laser technology to identify unknown chemicals on scene. Basically, in a nutshell, it’s a very sophisticated field test," said ISP Lt. Col. Larry Turner. He added, "with all the problems we’re having with fentanyl, being able to have our officers identify drugs on scene without having to open them, touch them, or expose them to re-agents, color testing like we've normally done."

ISP will also receive $6.1 million for an Anti-Methamphetamine Program. Indiana consistently ranks number one in the nation for meth lab busts. Lt. Col. Turner said these funds will help the states meth suppression unit. They respond to 98 percent of meth lab calls in the state.

"There’s a lot of training involved. There’s certification involved. There’s lots of equipment involved. Lots of overtime with call-outs, evidence collection, and then most importantly, just the disposal of all these hazardous materials that are left over at these clan lab sites," explained Lt. Col. Turner.

Indiana, California, New York, Michigan and Pennsylvania are just a few of the states to receive the funding after being selected through a competitive grant process.

USDOJ COPS Office Director, Ronald Davis, said these grants are part of the nations three step approach to solving the drug epidemic including prevention, enforcement, and treatment. Davis said this is just one piece of the puzzle. He also stated the reason the announcement was made in Indiana was to highlight the impact Indiana State Police have already made on combating the drug problem.

"Their success so far, and their vision moving forward is something we would say please follow to the rest of the states," Davis said. He added, "how we’re going to win this battle, this epidemic, is not going to come from me in DC. It’s going to come from you here in Indiana."

This week was also named National Opioid Awareness Week. As part of the efforts on a national level, the COPS office released a new publication titled Building Successful Partnerships between Law Enforcement and Public Health Agencies to Address Opioid Use.

For more information on the COPS Anti-Heroin Task Force Program, click here.

For more information on the COPS Anti-methamphetamine Program, click here.

Indiana State Police is expected to receive the funds within 180 days.

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