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The White House
For Immediate Release

Seven Counties Designated as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas

Counties in Four States to Receive Additional Federal Support to Combat Drug Trafficking; ONDCP Awards $10.6 Million in Resources to Target Drug Trafficking Networks and Prevent Drug Use Before it Starts

Washington, D.C. –Today, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced the designation of seven new counties in Florida, Maryland, Ohio, and Virginia as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA). The designation will enable the counties to receive Federal resources to further the coordination and development of drug control efforts among Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement officers and allow local agencies to benefit from ongoing HIDTA initiatives working to reduce drug use and its consequences across the United States.

The newly designated counties are:

  • Brevard County in Florida, as part of the Central Florida HIDTA
  • Wicomico County in Maryland, as part of the Washington/Baltimore HIDTA
  • Adams and Scioto Counties, as part of the Ohio HIDTA.
  • Lee, Scott, and Wise Counties in Southwest Virginia, as part of the Appalachia HIDTA.

“Drugs place enormous obstacles in the way of our work to raise healthy children, maintain strong families, support economic prosperity, and protect communities from crime,” said Kerlikowske. “The innovative initiatives and support provided by the HIDTA program will play an important role in helping local authorities combat drug related violence and crime. Smart enforcement efforts like these serve as a key component of our balanced approach to drug control and complement the Obama Administration’s emphasis on preventing drug use before it starts through education and providing treatment to people suffering from
drug addiction.”

In addition to designating new counties, ONDCP also announced $10.6 million in discretionary funding to 27 HIDTAs to enhance targeted enforcement and drug prevention efforts nationwide. These resources will support domestic highway enforcement, combat the diversion of prescription drugs, target domestic marijuana cultivation, enhance parcel interdiction investigations, implement Native American initiatives, and provide funding for drug prevention and education activities at the local level.

Created by Congress in 1988, the HIDTA program provides assistance to Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug trafficking regions of the United States. Law enforcement organizations within HIDTAs assess drug-trafficking problems and design specific initiatives to decrease the production, transportation, distribution, and chronic use of drugs and money laundering. There are currently 28 HIDTAs, which include approximately 16 percent of all counties in the United States and 60 percent of the U.S. population. HIDTA-designated counties are located in 46 states, as well as in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.

Overall drug use in the United States has dropped substantially over the past thirty years. In response to comprehensive efforts to address drug use at the local, state, Federal, and international levels, the rate of Americans using illicit drugs today is roughly one third the rate it was in the late 70s. More recently, cocaine use has dropped by 40 percent, and methamphetamine use in America has been cut in half. In Fiscal Year 2011, the Obama Administration spent over $10 billion on drug education and treatment and over $9 billion on drug-related law enforcement efforts in the U.S.