The Eureka Police Department is offering $20,000 in grant money
to a local nonprofit or government entity with a proven track record of successfully combating juvenile drug addiction. The money comes from the $124,000 in asset seizure funds EPD received last year, $25,000 of which can be earmarked for community education.
Chief Andrew Mills said the goal of the grant is to stem the tide of young addicts before they become entangled in the justice system. This form of primary prevention has been found to be more cost-effective than incarceration.
"It seems like there’s a never ending pipeline of people coming into the drug addiction culture," he told the Journal
. "I would rather focus on preventing on those coming in as one of our strategies than singularly focus on those already addicted."
Mills cited as an example a 15-year old girl he interviewed while investigating a string of robberies.
"We found the kids with stolen candy over at the skate park," he said. "I was talking to one of the girls ... she said she was up all night, which made me wonder if there was meth on board. She said she wasn't addicted but does meth a lot because it's mostly a sexual drug, that's what [she uses] it for. It dawned on me, we have to do better as a society."
The Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services announced in February that local drug and alcohol overdose death rates have been at least three times higher than the state average throughout the past five years. The county currently offers outpatient counseling for youth ages 12 to 14.
The grant application states that eligible entities must have a "demonstrated competency" in working with law enforcement to address this issue and the money would go toward a program aimed at reducing
the demand for opiates or methamphetamine among the juvenile population."
The grant deadline is May 20.