FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Fort Wayne Police have new tools to combat the opioid epidemic.
In a news conference Friday at Citizens Square, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry, city police officers, the city’s Community Development Division, City Council members, and officials from the Lutheran Foundation gathered to showcase new drug testing equipment. The equipment is part of the Quality of Life Initiative that was approved last October, aimed at reducing the drug impact in Fort Wayne.
As part of the plan, Fort Wayne received $3.8 million in additional revenue collected by the state through income taxes. The Fort Wayne Police Department received $300,000 for new drug testing equipment to address the opioid epidemic.
The new tools will expedite the testing process and provide more comprehensive results on substances present, officials said. Previously, the Indiana State Police performed most of these tests.
“Our goal is to make a meaningful difference and help make Fort Wayne safer and be better able to assist individuals and families in need of help. I’m encouraged that we’re moving in the right direction on a difficult issue,” said Henry. “Being in position to implement innovative solutions speaks volumes about our collective commitment to doing what’s best for the community.”
There are an estimated 6,000–10,000 intravenous drug users in Allen County, and roughly 60,000 individuals misusing opioids, officials said. There were a record number of overdose deaths in 2019 in Fort Wayne.