October 20, 2014

Elyria
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Attorney general pledges $2M grant to fight meth

BATAVIA — Federal funds will be used to help eliminate the manufacture, sale and use of the devastating drug methamphetamine in four communities as part of a program the state attorney general hopes to see spread across Ohio.

The $2 million in grant money will fund a two-year initiative aimed at eradicating the illegal drug — commonly referred to as meth — in Clermont and Highland counties in southwest Ohio and in Ashtabula County and the city of Akron, Attorney General Marc Dann said Monday at a news conference.

“Meth use doesn’t just affect the meth cooks and users,” Dann said. “It has deep and lasting effects on the community as a whole — crushing dreams and devastating communities.”

The project will include the attorney general’s Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation and law enforcement officials in Akron and the three counties, Dann said.

Authorities will receive specialized equipment and resources, including hazardous material protective gear, air quality meters and surveillance technology. Some of the grant money also will be used for public awareness campaigns.

Well-organized rings of manufacturers, also known as cooks, and distributors spend a great deal of time setting up the highly volatile labs, Highland County Sheriff Ron Ward said Monday. “It’s not just about putting themselves in danger, they put every family near that lab at risk.”

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services is providing the grant money.

“These are areas that definitely have a problem with methamphetamine based on the number of labs seized, the number of cooks arrested,” Dann spokeswoman Jennifer Brindisi said.

Dann hopes the pilot project will result in successful practices that can be used by other Ohio communities that also have problems with the drug, although it is not known whether additional federal funds would be available, Brindisi said.