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Idaho State News

Little Plans to Invest up to $1 Million to Combat Idaho’s Growing Drug Threat

BOISE – Governor Brad Little announced Thursday that Idaho will put up to $1 million toward efforts to confront the growing threat of fentanyl in the state.

“A trace of fentanyl the size of a grain of salt is enough to kill you, and many times it is laced into other pills or drugs – even black-market vape cartridges – and you won’t even know it. Meth and fentanyl seizures have dramatically increased in Idaho and across the country. We must act now. Given the magnitude of the problem, we are acting immediately to turn the tide and protect Idaho families,” Governor Little said.

The funds will be used in the coming weeks for two purposes – to purchase additional roadside testing equipment and triple the current ability to get fentanyl off the streets more quickly, and to start a new large-scale paid media campaign to educate the public about the dangers of fentanyl. The campaign will be coordinated by the Idaho State Police in cooperation with the Governor’s Office of Drug Policy.

Governor Little launched “Operation Esto Perpetua” earlier this year – a new strategy to do more to protect our communities against the growing drug threat. Operation Esto Perpetua is bringing together law enforcement, families, and others in new ways to meaningfully reduce the flow of fentanyl and methamphetamine into the State of Idaho. Additional information on Operation Esto Perpetua can be found at https://gov.idaho.gov/operation-esto-perpetua/.

The Idaho State Police also has deployed $250,000 approved by the Legislature this year as part of the Governor’s “Leading Idaho” plan for Operation Esto Perpetua. The funds are being used to hire more investigators and increase patrol hours for drug interdiction.

Gov. Little also shared a new observational report Thursday from the Citizens Action Group on Fentanyl he assembled in the spring. The group spent two months traveling the state holding public meetings to listen to Idahoans about the impact of fentanyl on our communities.

The observational report from the Citizens Action Group on Fentanyl can be found here. It highlighted potential solutions, including:

  • The need to significantly boost awareness and education around the dangers of fentanyl
  • The need to continue to push for border security and minimize the flow of illicit drugs into our country and state
  • The need to better integrate information sharing between law enforcement, first responders, health care, tribes, coroners, and others to tackle the problem strategically
  • The need to continue increasing resources for mental health and behavioral health

The observational report is being handed over to the Governor’s Law Enforcement Panel. The panel will closely examine the report and come up with concrete recommendations for Governor Little to include in his budget and priorities, which he will roll out in his 2023 State of the State and Budget Address in January.

“I appreciate the members of my Operation Esto Perpetua initiative – both the Citizens Action Group on Fentanyl and the Law Enforcement Panel – for serving our people and coming up with solutions to help us fight the growing drug threat in Idaho,” Governor Little added.