Grants for opioid-response initiatives

Funding is available for trace detection machines, Narcan kits and data-sharing technology to document problems in your jurisdiction


This feature is part of our PoliceOne Digital Edition, a supplement to PoliceOne.com that brings a sharpened focus to some of the most challenging topics facing police chiefs and police officers everywhere. To read all of the articles included in the Summer 2018 issue, click here.

By Therese Matthews, P1 Columnist

The opioid epidemic continues to cripple communities across the United States. Rural, suburban, urban and tribal communities have all been affected by this drug overdose crisis.

Whether you are a police officer, sheriff’s deputy, investigator, corrections officer, parole or probation agent, you know the dangers of narcotics exposure to yourself and the community you protect every day.

And, as a first responder, you are also called upon to administer drugs such as naloxone to save lives from opioid abuse.  

If your agency does not have funding within its budget to cover much-needed equipment such as trace detection machines to safely identify the substance, Narcan kits to administer to those who have overdosed or data-sharing technology to document the problem in your area, here are several grant-funding options you should consider to cover these costs.

Grants for trace narcotics detection machines and data collection efforts

Justice Assistance Grants (JAG)

The JAG program is one of the largest sources of grant funding supporting law enforcement equipment. Officer safety and wellness, collaborative prosecution and drug/violence reduction are among the priority areas for the use of JAG funds.

Many local municipalities across the country receive a local allocation directly from the federal government based on their proportion of the state’s three-year violent crime average.

States and U.S. territories also receive a JAG award each year for competitive funding to local and state agencies not qualifying for the local allocations. Your request needs to fit into the strategic plan the state/territory submits to the Department of Justice. Reach out to your State Administering Agency (SAA)  representative to discuss your needs and inquire about the next application period.  

Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-based Program

This multifaceted competitive grant opportunity supports first responder partnerships with treatment providers and technology-assisted treatment programs, prescription monitoring programs and multi-agency information sharing collaborations.

Coverdell National Forensic Science Improvement Grant Program

This program offers both competitive and formula-based grants. This funding must be used for one of six purposes including emerging forensic science technology.

Opioid Affected Youth Initiative

Offered through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, this grant program requires the development of a multi-agency task force and data collection but also can be used to address public safety concerns and equipment for response.

Community Facilities Direct Loan & Grant Program

This U.S.D.A. Rural Development program provides affordable funding to develop essential community facilities in rural areas. Public safety equipment is an allowable expense.

Innovative Prosecution Strategies

One focus of this grant program is for prosecutors to swiftly and thoroughly investigate overdose scenes as homicide scenes.

Grants for naloxone (Narcan) and other overdose-reducing devices

Many of the grants cited above may also allow you to include overdose-reducing devices such as Narcan kits within your budget if this is  part of your overall strategy to combat your community’s opioid problem. Below are just a few of the grants that specifically allow these types of devices.

Rural Communities Opioid Response Planning Initiative

Successful awardees will receive up to $200,000 for one year to develop plans to implement opioid use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery interventions designed to reduce opioid overdoses among rural populations.

SAMHSA Tribal Opioid Response Grant

This focuses on, among other areas, increasing access to culturally appropriate and evidence-based treatment, including medication-assisted treatment. 

Kaleo Cares

This donation program provides naloxone injection products for first responder agencies.

Collaborative approach: State/federal agency leadership

A final strategy to consider is joining together with your law enforcement partners and other community stakeholders on a collaborative application. One agency would take the lead to apply for funding to purchase multiple narcotics detection and testing units and overdose-reducing devices.

Several law enforcement agencies across a state or jurisdiction could benefit from this approach and receive this much needed equipment.

Many federal funders encourage this approach and require that a federal or state agency, or regional drug task force take the lead.

Examples of federal grant opportunities to consider for this approach include:

If eligible, take the lead and apply on behalf of a community coalition you form around this issue. If not, reach out to your drug task force partners, your local state police or U.S. Attorney’s Office and encourage them to apply on behalf of the local departments in your area.

Tips for developing a winning application

Many of these grants are highly competitive, so make sure you follow these steps when writing your application:

  • Develop a comprehensive strategy to address the opioid problem in your community. Your proposal must include statistics that both document the problem and estimate the impact the equipment will have on addressing the problem.  
  • Incorporate a programmatic and evidence-based approach to your request. Rather than just describing your need and use for a single piece of equipment, identify a target area or target problem to be addressed.
  • Bring many partners to the table to develop your strategy including treatment providers, schools, nonprofits, business community and other criminal justice partners.
  • Engage the services of a research expert within your local college or university. You will be at a competitive advantage if you identify a research partner who can conduct an evaluation of your project to report on its challenges and successes.
  • Follow these basic tips for preparing and writing your application.
  • Start your planning early. Many of the federal grant opportunities have closed for this year but will most likely be available again in the early part of next calendar year – so be prepared and develop your strategy now!

The Team at PoliceGrantsHelp is ready to assist. Our grant assistance program includes a number of options for departments seeking assistance in securing grant funding to support the work you do for our communities every day.


About the Author
Therese Matthews has over 25 years of experience in grant writing, grants management and program development.  As grants manager for the New Jersey Department of Corrections, she obtained over $140 million in grant funding for the agency.

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