BALTIMORE – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin, Barbara A. Mikulski and Congressman Chris Van Hollen (all D-Md.) today announced that Carroll County, Md. is one of the 14 additional counties in 10 states designated as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs). The designations will enable Carroll County to receive federal resources to further the coordination and development of drug control efforts among federal, state and local health and law enforcement officials. 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.
“For too many communities across Maryland, the pain associated with the drug trade is not a new phenomenon. Heroin and opioid trafficking and addiction take an especially devastating toll on families across the state,” said Senator Cardin. “Designating Carroll County as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area as part of the greater Baltimore/Washington area shows the federal government’s commitment to giving local law enforcement the tools they need to get drugs off the streets in big cities and small towns. I look forward to continuing to fight for federal resources to achieve a smart and effective strategy to combat drug trafficking and addiction in the United States.”
“The crisis of increased heroin use in Maryland and across America is destroying families and ravaging communities. It cuts across class, race and age,” said Senator Mikulski, Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee who secured $250 million in federal funding for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program in the FY16 government spending bill. “I’m fighting to address the heroin problem head on. This designation means Carroll County will have access to critical federal funding and resources to crack down on dealers while working to break the cycle of addiction for drug users.”
“Drug abuse is a public health crisis, and this designation will give Carroll County access to new resources, information, and personnel to help get drugs off our streets and out of our neighborhoods,” said Congressman Van Hollen.
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 issues and design specific initiatives to decrease the production, transportation, distribution, and chronic use of drugs and money laundering. There are currently 28 HIDTAs across the country.
The Obama Administration’s drug policy treats the national drug challenge as both a public health and public safety issue. This approach is built upon the latest scientific research demonstrating that substance use disorders are a chronic disease of the brain that can be successfully prevented and treated, and from which one can recover. The administration has directed 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 pursue “smart on crime” approaches to drug enforcement.
In August 2015, the Office of National Drug Control Policy announced additional funding for HIDTAS, including an unprecedented partnership among five regional HIDTA programs — Appalachia, New England, Philadelphia/Camden, New York/New Jersey, and Washington/Baltimore — to address the severe heroin threat facing those communities through public health-public safety partnerships across 15 states.