Drug dealers inadvertently supplied more than $17,000 for drug-prevention efforts at 35 DuPage County schools, thanks to a series of grants handed out Thursday by the state's attorney's office.
The funds derived from assets and money seized in drug investigations will support programs such as Red Ribbon Week and Say No To Drugs clubs. Prosecutors were able to provide the grants after seeking forfeitures of cash and property stemming from the drug trade.
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"The foundation of effective drug control rests not with the criminal justice system, rather it relies on educating our children about the dangers and consequences of drug use," State's Attorney Robert Berlin said. "That's why programs such as this are so crucial in reaching our youth and letting them know what lies in store for them should they get mixed up in drugs."
In 22 years, the State's Attorney's Drug Forfeiture Grant Program has awarded more than 500 grants worth $190,000. Officials said the 2011-12 total of $17,048 was the largest in the program's history.
More than 40 students, school administrators and teachers were on hand at the courthouse in Wheaton on Thursday to receive grants of up to $500. Berlin credited them "for their commitment to helping our children lead clean, healthy, drug-free lifestyles."