COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Several drug enforcement task forces serving central Ohio will receive part of a $2 million grant from RecoveryOhio, according to Governor Mike DeWine.

In a media release, DeWine said he established the anti-drug initiative with a goal of curtailing major traffickers, including the Mexican cartels.

DeWine announced Thursday that a total of 27 task forces will receive the 2021 grants. The central Ohio entities include:

  • Fairfield-Athens Major Crimes Unit — $193,772.78
  • Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Talk Force — $35,859.30
  • U.S. 23 Major Crimes Task Force — $53,724.14

DeWine called local drug task forces “the first line of defense” against high-level traffickers.

“This funding will provide vital tools in the area of drug use prevention, education, and treatment that will promote effective strategies to reduce the prevalence of substance use disorders and overdoses,” DeWine said in the release.

The statement says the Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force will use the funds “to reduce the availability of illegal narcotics . . . and to provide professional training and information-sharing opportunities for the task force and community partners in addiction and recovery.”

The central Ohio counties that will benefit from local programs include: Licking, Coshocton, Knox, Guernsey, Muskingum, Fairfield, Athens, Perry, Ross, Fayette, Highland, Hocking, Pickaway, and Pike.

Funding for the latest round of grants was included in the budget approved by the Ohio General Assembly for 2020-2021.

See a list of all 27 drug task forces receiving 2021 grants.