Scores of Ohio police agencies will share in a $3 million grant to educate students attending public school about the risks of drug use in an effort to the combat the state’s increasing struggle with substance abuse.
Roughly 150 law enforcement agencies will share the grant allowing police officers and officials to spearhead drug use prevention education programs in public schools, The Associated Press reported Monday.
The funding will be allocated to police and sheriff’s offices to create and maintain the programs, according to the Ohio attorney general’s office, The AP reported. Education about over-the-counter and prescription drugs will also be included in the programs. (RELATED: Cocaine ‘Speedballs’ Cut With Fentanyl Are Spreading Death Across Ohio)
The grant comes after Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine asked Congress to pass a law — Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl Analogues (SOFA) Act — closing a loophole allowing illegal fentanyl manufacturers to evade adherence to controlled substance system scheduling.
DeWine also created the Heroin Unit in 2013 to attack opiate traffickers and work with communities affected by opioid abuse.
Ohio’s drug overdose mortality rate rose 39 percent between mid-2016 and mid-2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Only in Pennsylvania and Florida were increases greater during that time frame, at 43.4 percent and 39.4 percent respectively. Ohio’s 39 percent increase is almost three times the national average increase, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
Thirty-six percent of the state is college educated, according to U.S. News and World Report.