WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) today lauded the announcement that Dorchester County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore has been added to the counties designated as part of the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs). The designation will enable Dorchester County to receive federal resources to address the severe heroin and opioid threat facing the community. Public health-public safety partnerships will help 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 misuse and abuse is not a new phenomenon. Heroin and opioid trafficking and addiction take an especially devastating toll on families across the state, including our rural communities,” said Senator Cardin. “HIDTA designation will give Dorchester County additional tools needed to get drugs off the streets and keep our communities safe.”
“The addition of Dorchester County to the HIDTA Program will strengthen critical efforts in Maryland to prevent drug trafficking,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen. “This investment will give our communities access to new resources, information, and personnel to make our neighborhoods safer. We must continue to work together at the local, regional, and federal level to end drug trafficking, combat the opioid crisis, and strengthen our communities. ”
“Drug trafficking is a national problem that has to be addressed on the local level, and adding these counties to the HIDTA program is a critical part of this effort,” said Richard Baum, Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy. “These new designations and the funding they will bring will help our Federal, state, and local law enforcement officers work together to disrupt and dismantle the trafficking networks that are bringing drugs into our communities.”
“Like so many others, the small community of Cambridge has felt the impact of heroin addiction. Not a day goes by that I don’t hear about another person falling prey to the drug by overdosing, receiving Narcan,” Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley said. “There is a real and dangerous situation here and all hands on deck for support to save our people.
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 28 HIDTAs located in 49 states, as well as in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.