Matzie: Nearly $400,000 in funding to support opioid testing, law enforcement coronavirus response

AMBRIDGE, June 10 – Beaver County will receive $284,994 in federal funding to support the costs of opioid testing and analysis over two years, while county law enforcement will have access to federal funding of up to $109,414 for coronavirus response efforts, state Rep. Rob Matzie announced today.

Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, said the grant from the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program – administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency – will fund a project to allow the county to identify the geographical distribution of drugs and develop protocols leading to improved community detection, response and treatment.   

“Even as we’re working toward a vaccine for COVID-19, we know there is no simple cure for the opioid addiction epidemic, which threatens to continue claiming lives long after we’ve eliminated the threat from the virus,” Matzie said. “Thankfully, we have strategies to combat the epidemic.

“Laboratory drug testing funded by this grant will be key to helping us understand the geographical distribution of drugs being used in our county. That knowledge will help health care providers better treat patients they are likely to encounter and will enhance law enforcement efforts to investigate and identify emerging threats.”

In addition to the opioid program funding, Matzie said county law enforcement will have access to nearly $110,000 – also administered by PCCD – for coronavirus response and preparedness.

“Our criminal justice workers – from law enforcement officers and court staff to case workers and treatment providers – are still on the front lines, regardless of the health threat,” Matzie said. “This funding, which can be used for personal protective equipment, staffing and training, overtime, and other resources, will work to keep them and the community they serve safe.”

Matzie said the funding available to law enforcement comes from federal Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding. Of $850 million in CESF funding designated for state and local law enforcement assistance nationwide, PCCD was eligible to apply for a state share of approximately $17.6 million.

Of that amount, PCCD said $8 million in CESF dollars is being made available now, based on an “unprecedented need to immediately address” COVID-19 prevention, preparedness and response.

The funding is for 24-month projects and will be distributed using a formula based on each county’s population size, with a base allocation amount of $40,000.