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Ivey awards grants to battle illegal drugs in Alabama

Gov. Kay Ivey delivers the 2019 state of the state address before a joint session of the Alabama Legislature in the Old House Chambers of the Alabama State Capitol on March 5, 2019. (Chip Brownlee/APR)

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced Monday more than $1.4 million in grants are being awarded to law enforcement in order to continue the fight to reduce illegal drug use in the state by arresting those who buy or sell illegal drugs or falsely obtain prescription drugs.

The funds will be distributed to the seven regional offices of the Alabama Drug Enforcement Task Force under the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. ALEA receives separate funding to help administer the task force. The task force offices were formed in January 2018 and are made up of officers in local law enforcement agencies.

“We must combat the illegal and illegally obtained drugs that rob so many people of productive lives and that destroy families,” Governor Ivey said. “I am pleased to support this task force, and I am grateful to the men and women who risk their lives to take drugs off our streets.”

In its second year, the statewide drug task force has been involved in 991 drug cases resulting in 606 arrests. Agents have seized 508 pounds of marijuana, 228 pounds of methamphetamine and 11 pounds of heroin and opioids along with other drugs and more than 200 firearms.

The task force is made up of 93 law enforcement officers representing 46 state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies.

The seven regional drug task force offices each received $204,100 in grant funding. Each regional office covers eight to 12 counties, although officers have powers in other jurisdictions. Funds will be used to cover overtime and operational expenses and equipment purchases.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grants from funds made available to the state from the U.S. Justice Department.

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“ADECA values its partnerships with ALEA and the regional drug task forces who are making a difference in our communities,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said.

ADECA administers an array of programs supporting law enforcement and traffic safety, economic development, energy conservation, water resource management and recreation development.

Over 1.5 million Americans were arrested on drug-related charges in 2016, up slightly from the year before.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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