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Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

Justice Department funds target addiction

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Department of Justice personnel said the agency has earmarked more than $341 million in grants to aid the nation in combating addiction.

“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,” Attorney General William P. Barr said. “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.”

Officials said Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan recently detailed the funding initiative during a roundtable discussion of mental health and addiction issues led by Second Lady Karen Pence.

“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,” Sullivan said. “It was a privilege to join the Second Lady in announcing these investments, which 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.”

Authorities indicated the funding sources are the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), components of OJP.

Illegal drugs and illicit drug use have claimed nearly 400,000 American lives since the turn of the century.