CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA – U.S. Attorneys Mike Stuart and Bill Powell today announced awards of $8,902,765 in Department of Justice grants to fight drug abuse and addiction in West Virginia. The grants were awarded by the Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and are part of more than $341 million going to communities nationwide.
“The addiction crisis has taken an enormous toll on America’s families and communities, eroding public health, threatening public safety and claiming tens of thousands of lives year after year,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “Through comprehensive measures taken by this administration, we have been able to curtail the opioid epidemic, but new and powerful drugs are presenting exceptional challenges that we must be prepared to meet. The Justice Department’s substantial investments in enforcement, response, and treatment will help us overcome these challenges and work towards freeing Americans from abuse and addiction.”
Illegal drugs and illicit drug use have claimed the lives of nearly 400,000 Americans since the turn of the century. Powerful synthetic opioids like fentanyl are exacting an enormous toll on families and communities, and an emergence in the use of methamphetamines and other psychostimulants is drawing drug traffickers and driving up overdose rates. Three years ago, President Trump declared a Public Health Emergency and initiated a whole-of-government approach dedicated to ending this national tragedy. The Department of Justice has invested unprecedented levels of funding in combating the addiction crisis. The awards announced today build on those earlier investments.
“If we hope to defeat an enemy as powerful, persistent and adaptable as illicit drugs, we must be at least as determined and versatile, focusing our ingenuity and resources on curbing abuse and fighting addiction,” said OJP’s Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan. “These grants will enable criminal justice officials and substance abuse, mental health and other medical professionals to pool their assets and bring the full weight of our public safety and treatment systems down on this epidemic that has already caused so much harm.”
“West Virginia is ground zero for battling this crisis. With the highest overdose death rate per capita nationally for several years in a row, it’s vital that those in the mountain state working to combat this epidemic have the tools they need to help bring those numbers down and save lives. This funding will assist in that fight,” said Powell.
“With our state being the epicenter of the addiction crisis, this funding is critical to addressing the challenges faced by families and communities throughout West Virginia,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “It will further strengthen the “all hands on deck” approach that is necessary to combat the addiction crisis. The programs funded will provide much needed resources and support to those in need.”
Funding is made available through OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, National Institute of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
The following organizations received funding:
- West Virginia Justice and Community Services – $6,223,284
- West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals – $1,349,953
- United Way of the River Cities – $690,553
- Legal Aide of West Virginia – $638,975
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia.