The federal government is making a bigger investment in the fight against heroin.
Kentucky and other Appalachian states will share in a $2.5 million grant aimed at reducing the trafficking, distribution, and use of heroin.
The Appalachian High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area is one of five regional HIDTAs which help federal, state, and local authorities coordinate drug enforcement operations.
According to Director Michael Botticelli in the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the fight has shifted from prescription pills to heroin in many parts of the country.
"We have seen a leveling off of overdoeses related to prescription drugs, but what has been challenging is the dramatic increase in both heroin use and heroin overdoses," said Botticelli on Monday in a conference call with reporters.
Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell said multi-jurisdictional and multi-agency law enforcement efforts are crucial to the fight against heroin which is hitting the commonwealth particularly hard.
"I have no doubt that this new funding will enhance law enforcement’s ability to fight heroin in some of the areas, such as Kentucky, that have seen communities and families ravaged because of this drug," McConnell said in a statement. "In this era of limited federal resources, we must use these interagency partnerships to maximize our return from the federal dollars we spend to combat this epidemic."
In addition to the $2.5 million federal grant, the Appalachia HIDTA will also receive nearly $400,000 to be used for programs to help prevent drug abuse in Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Virginia.