IRON RANGE — The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will receive more than $1.1 million in federal grant money to put toward drug enforcement, including efforts to curb the spread of opioids and heroin in the state

Funding was announced by Eighth District U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber on Tuesday. His district, which includes the Iron Range and Duluth, has the highest overdose rates in the state.

The state will receive money from an anti-heroin task force program run by the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). Stauber requested funding from the COPS program in a letter earlier this year.

“As a former Duluth police officer, I know from firsthand experience that our law enforcement officers are doing everything in their power to combat the drug crisis ravaging our communities, but they need help,” Stauber said in a press release. “This grant money will supplement the great work already being done by Minnesota’s law enforcement officers, helping to drastically reduce the distribution and use of heroin and other illicit drugs.”

Overdose rates in the region have more than doubled since 2013, prompting the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration last month to permanently place two federal agents in Duluth as part of a task force.

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