Office of National Drug Control Policy

HIDTA Designation Process & Authorizing Language

A coalition of law enforcement agencies from an area may petition for designation as a HIDTA, generally working with the closest established HIDTA, requesting that the ONDCP Director designate specific counties as additions to the respective HIDTA.

Qualifying Criteria

The Office of National Drug Control Reauthorization Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-469) established the following criteria for determination of designation as a HIDTA:

  • The area is a significant center of illegal drug production, manufacturing, importation, or distribution;
  • State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies have committed resources to respond to the drug trafficking problem in the area, thereby indicating a determination to respond aggressively to the problem;
  • Drug-related activities in the area are having a significant harmful impact in the area and in other areas of the country; and
  • A significant increase in allocation of Federal resources is necessary to respond adequately to drug related activities in the area.

County Designation

The ONDCP Director, in consultation with the Attorney General, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Homeland Security, heads of the National Drug Control Program agencies, and the Governor of each applicable state, may designate any specified area of the United States as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

Designation Petitions

A coalition of interested law enforcement agencies from an area may petition for designation as a HIDTA.

  1. Petitions must specify the geographic area for which HIDTA designation is requested. Areas are designated by county; therefore, such areas must be identified in the petition.
  2. Petitions must state specifically which law enforcement agencies are making the petition, a responsible official for each agency making the petition, and a point of contact for the coalition of interested law enforcement agencies.
  3. Petitions must include an assessment of the threat of illegal drugs in the area for which HIDTA designation is requested and must specifically respond to each of the four criteria mentioned above.
  4. Each of the requirements must be addressed and justified with sufficient information/ documentation for each county proposed in the petition.
  5. If the petition proposes to designate additional counties to an already-established HIDTA region, the petition shall include a letter from the Chairman of that HIDTA’s Executive Board indicating that the Executive Board has reviewed the petition and sets forth its position related to the petition for designation.
Upon receipt of a petition, ONDCP shall send an acknowledgement letter to the requester to confirm receipt of the petition and provide an assigned number for further reference.  Petitions will be reviewed by ONDCP on a regular basis. The review will include a recommendation regarding the merit of the petition to the Director by a panel of qualified, independent experts who are designated by the Director.  After the review is completed, the requestor will be notified in writing regarding the disposition of the petition.  The ONDCP Director is solely responsible for making designation and funding decisions relating to the HIDTA program.