White House Drug Policy Director Announces Designation of 12 Counties in Nine States as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas
Counties will Receive Additional Support from Federal Program Designed to Disrupt Drug Trafficking through Coordinated, “Smart on Crime “Approaches to Enforcement
(Washington, D.C.) –Today, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced the designation of 12 additional counties in California, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs). The designation will enable the 12 counties to receive Federal resources to further the coordination and development of drug control efforts among Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officers. It also will allow local agencies to benefit from ongoing HIDTA coordinated initiatives working to reduce drug use and its consequences across the United States.
The newly designated counties are:
- Humboldt County in California, as part of the Northern California HIDTA.
- Cecil and Frederick Counties in Maryland, as part of the Washington/Baltimore HIDTA.
- Forrest County in Mississippi, as part of the Gulf Coast HIDTA.
- Rockingham County in North Carolina, as part of the Atlanta-Carolinas HIDTA.
- Williams County in North Dakota, as part of the Midwest HIDTA.
- Florence and Horry Counties in South Carolina, as part of the Atlanta-Carolinas HIDTA.
- Bradley County in Tennessee, as part of the Appalachia HIDTA.
- Dickenson County in Virginia, as part of the Appalachia HIDTA; and Roanoke County, as part of the Washington/Baltimore HIDTA.
- Wyoming County in West Virginia, as part of the Appalachia HIDTA.
Created by Congress in 1988, the HIDTA program serves as a catalyst for coordination among 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 working 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 located in 46 states, as well as in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.
“Drug trafficking and production place a tremendous burden on our communities,” said Kerlikowske. “As the Obama Administration continues to bolster drug prevention, access to treatment, and other evidence-based public health approaches to drug policy, today’s announcement demonstrates our continued commitment to expanding ‘smart on crime’ programs that protect communities from drug-related harm. By designating these new counties, we will enhance the ability of Federal, state, and local authorities to coordinate drug enforcement operations, share intelligence, and adopt state-of-the-art technology to improve public health and safety.”
In addition to designating 12 new counties, ONDCP also announced nearly $3 million in discretionary funding to 21 HIDTAs to enhance targeted enforcement and drug prevention efforts nationwide. This includes $660,000 in support of the new counties designated as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas. The discretionary funds will support strategic priorities based on the unique threats in each HIDTA, including prescription drug abuse and synthetic drugs.
In April, the Obama Administration released a science-based drug policy that addresses the national drug challenge as a public health issue, not just a criminal justice issue. The 2013 National Drug Control Strategy is built upon the latest scientific research demonstrating that addiction is a chronic disease of the brain that can be successfully prevented and treated, and from which one can recover. The Strategy directs Federal agencies to expand community-based efforts to prevent drug use before it begins, empower healthcare workers to intervene early at the first signs of a substance use disorder, expand access to treatment for those who need it, support the millions of Americans in recovery, and expand “smart on crime” approaches to drug enforcement.