State's attorney's office donates $2,000 to local police to fight opioid crisis

PAXTON — Ford County State’s Attorney Andrew Killian is donating funds from his office’s drug asset forfeiture account to local law enforcement agencies in an attempt to draw attention to the opioid crisis afflicting smaller counties, like Ford County, and the need for the federal and state governments to adequately fund both law enforcement efforts as well as treatment centers to effectively combat the threat to the public.

The Ford County Sheriff’s Office, Gibson City Police Department, Paxton Police Department and Kankakee Area Metropolitan Enforcement Group will each receive $500 from the state’s attorney’s office to help fund their agencies’ efforts in fighting the opioid epidemic in Ford County.

“Opioid overdoses claim approximately 100 American lives every day according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention), and Ford County has not been immune from this reality,” Killian said in a news release. “In addition to the lives lost, the cost to law enforcement agencies, EMT services, fire and rescue, hospitals, the criminal justice system and other entities negatively affected by the crisis is estimated by one study to cost $78.5 billion.”

The drug asset forfeiture account is funded by proceeds of the sale of vehicles and other items used in the commission of certain drug-related criminal offenses, and state law restricts the expending of such funds to be used for drug enforcement and prosecution-related items. The $2,000 represents over 40 percent of Killian’s forfeiture account’s current balance.

“These donations are a drop in a very large bucket compared to the actual funding needed to stem the tide and reverse the growing problem of opioid addiction in Ford County and other rural counties,” Killian said. “My hope is that these donations will shine a light on the need for help from the federal and state governments to fund rural law enforcement efforts, alternative court systems, like drug courts, and treatment centers in rural counties.

“Unless and until sufficient resources are brought to bear on this challenge, we are just plugging holes in the dam and quickly running out of fingers.”

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