White House Drug Policy Director Announces Eight New Counties Receive Federal Designation to Fight Drug Trafficking
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)
announced the designation of eight new counties as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs), which will further the coordination and development of joint drug control efforts by Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies in these areas and allow them to benefit from ongoing HIDTA initiatives.
These counties include:
- Orange County in New York as part of the New York/New Jersey HIDTA
- Mendocino County in California as part of the Northern California HIDTA
- Porter County in Indiana as part of the Lake County HIDTA
- Lexington and Richland Counties in South Carolina as part of the Atlanta HIDTA
- Harford County in Maryland as part of the Washington/Baltimore HIDTA
- Putnam and Mercer Counties in West Virginia as part of the Appalachia HIDTA
"In a difficult budget environment, now more than ever it is important for Federal, state, and local partners to collaborate in order to maximize resources to reduce drug abuse and its consequences," said Kerlikowske. "Designating these counties as HIDTAs will promote the necessary intergovernmental and interagency cooperation required to stem drug trafficking across this Nation."
Consistent with the National Drug Control Strategy, the HIDTA program aims to reduce drug trafficking and production in the United States by:
- Facilitating cooperation among Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to share information and implement coordinated enforcement activities;
- Enhancing law enforcement intelligence sharing among Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies;
- Providing reliable law enforcement intelligence to law enforcement agencies to facilitate the design of effective enforcement strategies and operations; and
- Supporting coordinated law enforcement strategies that make the most of available resources to reduce the supply of illegal drugs in designated areas of the United States and in the Nation as a whole.
The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, 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.
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 number of Americans using illicit drugs today is roughly half the rate it was in the late 70s. More recently, there has been a 46 percent drop in current cocaine use among young adults (age 18 to 25 years) over the past five years, and a 68 percent drop in the rate of people testing positive for cocaine in the workplace since 2006. To build on this progress and support a public health approach to drug control outlined in the Strategy, the Obama Administration has committed over $10 billion for drug education programs and support for expanding access to drug treatment for addicts.