LIMA — Local forces against illegal drug use received its annual shot of financial backing to combat the epidemic.
The West Central Ohio Crime Task Force is set to receive $187,390 in funding as part of a sub-grant agreement between Allen County and Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services. The grant award is for $140,500 with the Lima Police Department, Allen County Prosecutor’s Office and the Allen County Sheriff’s Office providing the remainder of the funds. The commissioners approved entering into the agreement Tuesday.
Sheriff Sam Crish said the money will be used for salary, equipment and confidential funds and “without this grant it would be tough” to keep the task force in operation. The West Central Ohio Crime Task Force was formed in 1989 in order to help fight the war on drugs in Allen County.
“The West Central Ohio Crime Task Force certainly benefits our community and by combining it with all the local enforcement agencies sure helps with the issues that we face,” Crish said.
The sheriff estimated about 85 percent of the inmates incarcerated in the county is related to drugs. He said the drugs are either the direct result of the person being in jail or prison or the person is committing another crime to feed his or her addiction to drugs.
Crish said they continue to try and win the war on drugs, which includes marijuana and crack and the resurgence of another drug gaining popularity in the region, the state and the area.
“Crack is still a problem here in our community, but heroin is on the rise and that is throughout the entire state,” Crish said. “As the years go by, things change and the drug world changes so we are constantly trying to stay up on it and now we are combating another drug coming into our community.
“That is what is causing a whole lot of problems in our community is that people are abusing the drugs, selling the drugs, and a large percentage of the crimes occurring in our county are drug related,” the sheriff said.