EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — State Police officials announced Wednesday their drug enforcement efforts are seeing dramatic results.

In a news release, ISP Director Brandan Kelly said during Fiscal Year 2021, the ISP Metropolitan Enforcement Groups (MEGs) recovered around $71 million worth of illegal drugs. Recent law changes have allowed them to get more drugs off the street and investigate other crimes.

During FY 2021, MEGs seized nearly 400% more fentanyl, over 260% more heroin, and over 190% more meth throughout the state.

MEGs have been around for a long time. They work the front lines to get illegal drugs off the street.

Kelly said, “A 2017 report by the Illinois criminal justice information authority concluded that meg units are effective for proportionately more trafficking and manufacturing delivery arrests.”

“MEGs” are responsible for stopping illegal drugs from getting to people. Illinois state police director Brendan kelly said these groups are important.

“An average of eight Illinois residents die per day two point three times higher than vehicle fatalities two point two times higher than homicides,” said Kelly. “It’s a matter of life and death. You cant have a chance at life if you can’t have a chance at the treatment being effective if you’re dead,” said Kelly.

The CDC estimates more than 100-thousand people died in 20-21 from drug overdoses.

“Each of those fatalities represents a family devastated by unspeakable grief. Those numbers only speak to the overdoses and not the tens of thousands who fight addiction every day,” said Kelly. “Prevention treatment and enforcement, because there is no chance for prevention or treatment to take hold and to save lives unless we can stem the tide of drugs.”

Last year alone MEGs made more than 2,200 drug searches and seizures. State troopers arrested 878 people for drug-related charges in 2021. They also made 68 gang-related arrests. Investigators have 1,247 cases under investigation right now. Kelly said it is important that they continue to keep drugs off the street.

Keely said, “What is important for people to realize is that many of these substances that we are talking about here are killing people. This is highly potent dangerous substances carfentanil fentanyl heroin other substances like cocaine can be laced with those substances.”