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St. Mary Parish lands grant to address opioid abuse

St. Mary Parish government drug court has been awarded at $500,000 federal grant to aid in the battle against opioid abuse.

The grant is part of $320 million in grants the Department of Justice has issued to combat the opioid crisis across the United States. In St. Mary Parish, the $500,000 will be used for the improvement, enhancement or expansion of drug court services. The grants are provided to agencies within the Western District of Louisiana through the Office of Justice Programs.

Federal officials say that drug courts have been demonstrated to reduce recidivism and substance abuse among high risk, high need participants and increase their likelihood of successful rehabilitation. These courts integrate evidence-based substance abuse treatment, mandatory drug testing, sanctions and incentives, and transitional services in judicially supervised court settings.

The press release included some statistics:

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 Take Back Day. Red Ribbon Week takes place every year between October 23 to 31 and encourages students, parents, schools and communities to promote drug-free lifestyles. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s 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 Take Back Days and collected more than 2.7 million pounds of expired or unused prescription drugs since April 2017.

The approximately $320 million is divided up as follows:

  • Innovative Prosecution Solutions for Combating Violent Crime and Opioid Abuse ($2.8 Million) to help prosecutors develop strategies to address violent crime caused by illegal opioid distribution and abuse.
  • Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-based Program ($162 Million) to help jurisdictions plan and implement programs aimed at reducing opioid abuse and mitigating its impact on crime victims, including training and technical assistance.
  • Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program ($5.9 Million) to address the treatment needs of people using opioids under the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program.
  • Helping Children and Youth Impacted by Opioids ($46.6 Million) to help children and youth impacted by the opioid crisis, including training and technical assistance.
  • Drug Courts ($81.2 Million) to assist adult, juvenile, and family drug courts and veterans treatment courts, including training and technical assistance.
  • Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grant Program ($17 Million) to address the dramatic increase in deaths and the backlogs of seized drugs as a result of the opioid crisis.
  • Opioid-Related Research for Criminal Justice Purposes ($4.1 Million) to develop of new tools to enforce the law, ensure public safety, prevent and control crime, and ensure fair and impartial administration of justice.
KATC News

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