WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Maine has been awarded nearly $1 million from the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services Anti-Heroin Task Force Program (AHTF) that will help combat the opioid crisis throughout the state.
The funding—a total of $931,880—will be given to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency in order to support the location or investigation of illicit activities through statewide collaboration related to the distribution of heroin, fentanyl, or carfentanil or the unlawful distribution of prescription opioids.
Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine) made the announcement Thursday. Collins is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee who helped secure $35 million for the AHTF Program.
“While we continue our efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we must not relent in our efforts to address the ongoing opioid crisis, which affects far too many families in Maine,” Collins and King said in a joint statement. “This important funding will help to ensure that Maine’s law enforcement officers have the resources they need to help keep our communities safe.”
The Maine Attorney General's Office Drug Death Report for 2019, which was released in May, showed that drug deaths in the state totaled 380, a 7% increased since 2018. Of these 380, 84% were caused by opioids, nearly always in combination with other drugs or alcohol.
AHTF provides three years of funding directly to state-level law enforcement agencies with multijurisdictional reach and interdisciplinary team structures in states with high per capita rates of primary treatment admissions for heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil, and other opioids.