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CHARLESTON — Residents across the state of West Virginia now have access to a toll-free drug tip line, where they can anonymously report illegal activity in their neighborhoods.

Lawrence Messina, director of communications for the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security, said Monday the West Virginia Drug Tip Line launched Aug. 1 through the West Virginia Fusion Center’s new Narcotics Intelligence Unit, as directed by Gov. Jim Justice.

West Virginia’s Department of Homeland Security includes several state agencies including the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, state police, the Division of Emergency management and more. It also includes the Fusion Center, which has a goal to anticipate, identify, prevent and monitor criminal activities and other hazards within the state.

The tip line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 833-905-3784, where callers can speak with a staff member trained to receive the information. Tips can also be submitted online at go.wv.gov/drugtips.

Information received will be assigned to a NIU intelligent analyst for investigation. The NIU can also authorize Homeland Security’s legal team to assist county prosecuting attorneys, upon request, Sandy added.

DHS Secretary Jeff Sandy said multiple Homeland Security divisions have a representative at the Fusion Center to help.

“Our goal is to help every law enforcement agency in West Virginia in the war on drugs,” he said. “The announcement of the first statewide drug tip line in the first month of the Narcotics Intelligence Unit’s existence shows the resolve and commitment of Gov. Justice.”

Delegate Rodney Miller, D-Boone, a former county sheriff who is now executive director of the West Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, and West Virginia Chiefs of Police Association Vice President Joe Crawford, St. Albans Police Chief, both endorsed the effort.

“The sheriffs from across West Virginia are happy to join other law enforcement and partners in this statewide initiative to help provide another point of contact to aid in the fight against substance abuse in our state,” said Miller. “This collective approach to fighting substance abuse brings a newer collaborative together to strengthen our efforts to make West Virginia better.”

“The West Virginia Chiefs of Police are proud to partner with WVDHS on this important and vital mission,” Crawford said. “Our board of directors unanimously voted to support this initiative. I believe that this will aid and assist law enforcement agencies across West Virginia to fight the war on drugs and the opioid epidemic, which is still a major problem for all of law enforcement.”

Follow reporter Courtney Hessler at Facebook.com/CHesslerHD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.