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Press Release

Justice Department Awards Almost $320 Million To Combat Opioid Crisis, Eastern District Of Kentucky To Receive More Than $3,700,000

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Kentucky

WASHINGTON – On the first day of National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, the Department of Justice announced it is awarding almost $320 million to combat the opioid crisis in America.  The unprecedented funding will directly help those most impacted by the deadliest drug crisis in American history, including crime victims, children, families, and first responders.

"President Trump has made ending the opioid crisis a priority for this administration, and under his leadership, the Department of Justice has taken historic action," said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. "Today we are announcing our next steps: investing $320 million into all three parts of the President’s comprehensive plan to end the epidemic:  prevention, treatment, and enforcement.  We are attacking this crisis from every angle—and we will not let up until we bring it to an end."

In 2017, more than 72,000 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses, an increase from the 64,000 overdose deaths in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The majority of these deaths can be attributed to opioids, including illicit fentanyl and its analogues.  October marks two important anti-drug events:  Red Ribbon Week and National Prescription Drug Takeback Day.  Red Ribbon Week takes place every year between October 23-31 and encourages students, parents, schools, and communities to promote drug-free lifestyles.  The Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, on October 27, aims to provide an opportunity for Americans to prevent overdose deaths and drug addictions before they start.  DOJ expanded on DEA's Drug Takeback Days and has collected more than 2.7 million pounds of expired or unused prescription drugs since April 2017. 

The Attorney General has been resolute in the fight against the drug crisis in America.  The Department assigned more than 300 federal prosecutors to U.S. Attorneys’ offices and hired more than 400 DEA task force officers; announced the formation of Operation Synthetic Opioid Surge, a new program to reduce the supply of deadly synthetic opioids in high impact areas; and created a new data analytics program called the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit, to assist 12 prosecutors sent to drug “hot spot districts.”  The Department also charged more than 3,000 defendants with trafficking in heroin, fentanyl, or prescription drugs in FY 2017, announced the first-ever indictments of Chinese nationals for fentanyl trafficking, and scheduled variants of fentanyl to prevent illicit drug labs from circumventing the law.  In addition, DOJ executed the largest ever health care fraud enforcement action, charging more than 600 defendants, and proposed rules consistent with President Trump's "Safe Prescribing Plan," requiring a reduction of ten percent in 2019 in manufacturing quotas.  The Department dismantled AlphaBay, the largest criminal marketplace on the Internet and has already generated prosecutions in the fight against online drug trafficking through the Joint Criminal Opioid Darknet Enforcement Team (J-CODE)

The approximately $320 million awarded by the Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) will be distributed to maximize effectiveness across the country.  A breakdown of the grant funding can be found here.

In the Eastern District of Kentucky, the following recipients received grant funding to combat the opioid crisis:

The Lexington Fayette Urban County Government received $500,000 for law enforcement and first responders to respond to overdoses.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services received $543,188 for the Commonwealth’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

The University of Kentucky Research Foundation received $1,000,000 to help local and state agencies leverage information from public health and public safety data and to analyze substance abuse issues and identify potential solutions from public health, treatment, and public safety perspectives. 

The Northern Kentucky Legal Aid Society received $666,176 to help expand services for children and youth victimized as a result of the opioid crisis.  

The Lexington Leadership Foundation, Inc., received $500,000 to create and provide mentoring services to children impacted by the opioid epidemic.  

The Kentucky Administrative Office of the Court received $500,000 to enhance existing drug court programs.    

“These grants provide unprecedented funding for those most impacted by the opioid crisis and will assist families and children, law enforcement, and first responders,” said United States Attorney Robert M. Duncan, Jr.  “These grant awards evidence the Department of Justice’s commitment to address this crisis on multiple fronts, and recognize the need to support law enforcement, prevention, and treatment efforts.”  

Updated October 1, 2018