MERRIMACK, N.H. (AP) — Officials in a New Hampshire town have approved new funding for a drug unit dedicated to fighting the opioid epidemic.

The Merrimack Town Council approved the new drug enforcement unit Monday night, which will consist of a sergeant and patrol officer. WMUR-TV reports the town council also approved overtime for current officers ahead of the new officers' start date in November.

Police Chief Denise Roy said that since Jan. 7, the department has made 20 drug-related arrests, and that drug dealers are setting up at local hotels, leading to surges in drug activity and prostitution.

Roy says hotels are cooperating, but the issue is growing and normal patrols would be stretched too thin to deal with labor-intensive drug investigations.

The cost for the two officers through 2019 will be $445,000.

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Information from: WMUR-TV, http://wmur.com