White House Drug Policy Director Designates Eight New Counties as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas
(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 drug-control efforts among Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies in these areas.
The newly designated counties are:
- 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
ONDCP’s HIDTA program provides Federal resources to designated areas to help reduce drug trafficking and its harmful consequences. Law enforcement organizations within HIDTAs assess drug-trafficking problems and design specific initiatives to decrease the production, manufacture, 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.
"Close collaboration with our Federal, state, local, and tribal partners is a critical component of our efforts to reduce both the demand and supply of drugs," said Kerlikowske. "By designating these counties as HIDTAs, we will create a powerful catalyst for cooperation among Federal, state, local, and tribal agencies working to make our communities healthier and safer.”
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 half the rate it was in the late 70s. To build on this progress and support a public health approach to drug control outlined in the National Drug Control Strategy, the Obama Administration has committed over $10 billion for drug education programs and support for expanding access to drug treatment for addicts and over $9 billion for U.S. law enforcement efforts.