Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) awarded $1.6 million to continue the fight against illegal drugs and drug-related crime in the state.

“Public safety is at the forefront of our mission, and I am proud to aid our law enforcement in the battle against illegal drugs and crime,” said Ivey.

The governor awarded $202,557 each to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and the state’s seven regional drug task forces.

The funds will be used to continue the battle against drug sellers, manufacturers and users. The task forces are also committed to curtailing the sale and use of illegally obtained and used pharmaceutical drugs.

The task forces are headed by ALEA and were formed in 2018. They are made up of members from law enforcement agencies within their region. Each region comprises eight to 12 counties and task force members have law enforcement powers in each jurisdiction.

In 2021, task force agents throughout the state made nearly 800 arrests and seized large amounts of illegal drugs including marijuana, methamphetamines, and cocaine. Numerous firearms and a significant amount of drug-related currency were also seized during the investigations.

The funds will be used to cover overtime and operational and equipment expenses.

Some 93,331 Americans died from drug overdoses during 2020, an increase of 29.4% from the 72,151 deaths in 2019 and at the halfway mark 2021 was outpacing 2020.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) administers the grants from funds from the U.S. Department of Justice.

“ADECA is pleased to play a role in this program that helps take drugs off the streets and make our communities safer,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “We join Gov. Ivey in commending the work of these task forces.”

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

Ivey served two terms as State Treasurer and two terms as lieutenant governor. She was elevated to governor in 2017 and elected to her own term in 2018. She is running for a second term in 2022.

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