WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) applauded the announcement that Worcester County, Md. has been added to the counties designated as part of the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs). The designation will enable the County to receive federal resources to address the severe heroin and opioid threat facing the community. Additionally, the designation will allow further 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.
“There is no simple answer to the opioid crisis, which has touched every corner of our state, but we do know that it takes partnership at all levels of government, and all available resources, to stem this tide of opioid addiction and abuse,” said Senator Cardin. “Having the support of the HIDTA Program in Worcester County will expand the reach of this partnership across Maryland communities in need. I’ll keep fighting to ensure the federal government remains an aggressive partner in Maryland’s fight to combat the opioid epidemic.”
“For many families across Maryland, the pain caused by the opioid epidemic is all too real. The addition of Worcester County to the HIDTA Program will strengthen our efforts to prevent drug trafficking and address the opioid epidemic,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen. “This designation will give Worcester access to new resources, information, and personnel to make our communities safer. We must continue to work together at the local, regional, and federal levels to combat the opioid crisis and prevent drug trafficking.”
The HIDTA program was created by Congress in 1988 and 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, and distribution of drugs. There are currently 29 HIDTAs located in all 50 states, as well as in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.