State police receive $1.5 million federal grant to combat heroin, opioid abuse

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Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Friday that Connecticut State Police have been awarded a $1.5 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to address heroin and opioid abuse and addiction.

"Opioid abuse is a problem that is impacting every corner of our nation, including here in our state, which is why we are increasing efforts at every possible level to fight and put a stop to this crisis," Malloy said in a prepared statement. "Battling this epidemic requires a multifaceted approach between public health and public safety professionals — an effort that not only improves investigations, but one that also provides necessary treatment and saves lives."

The state police plan to utilize the grant through a two-pronged approach, according to Malloy. The Statewide Narcotics Task Force, made of state, local and federal law enforcement agencies, will focus on identifying, disrupting and dismantling of drug trafficking organizations. 

Also, the state police will partner with the Judicial Branch and prosecutors to look for alternatives to incarceration for those requiring substance-abuse treatment and will develop a model for best practices for working with those who have mental health or substance-abuse disorders, Malloy said.

"Interdiction is an essential part of prevention, and this funding will significantly support Connecticut State Police troopers' efforts to disrupt and dismantle the traffickers responsible for bringing heroin into our state," said Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner Dora B. Schriro. "In addition to interrupting traffickers, our troopers are leading the way in focused community policing as well as bringing back individuals on the brink of overdose a second chance at recovery. This funding will enhance all of these crucial efforts."

Members of Connecticut's congressional delegation issued a joint statement saying the state needs an "all-hands-on-deck approach" to combatting opioid addiction.

"While we welcome this federal aid, we also acknowledge that this is a drop in the bucket of what is needed nationwide, and we call on GOP leadership in Washington to do their job and provide states and communities the funding they desperately need to address this crisis," the delegation said in a joint statement.

The competitive grant was awarded through the Department of Justice's 2016 Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) anti-heroin task force program.

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