|Pensacola, FL – Director of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli announced that Florida’s Escambia and Santa Rosa counties are part of the 14 additional counties in 10 states designated as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs). The designations
“With the designation of new counties as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA), we are enhancing the ability of Federal, state, and local authorities to coordinate drug enforcement operations and improve public health and safety,” said Director Botticelli. “The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program is an important part of this Administration’s work to expand community-based efforts to prevent drug use, pursue ‘smart on crime’ approaches to drug enforcement, work to reduce overdose deaths, increase access to treatment, and support millions of Americans in recovery.”
The newly designated counties were added to the following HIDTAs:
• Appalachia HIDTA
• Gulf Coast HIDTA
• Michigan HIDTA
• New England HIDTA
• New York/New Jersey HIDTA
• Oregon-Idaho HIDTA
• Texoma HIDTA
• Washington/Baltimore 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 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 of last year, 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. This HIDTA Heroin Response Strategy is fostering a collaborative network of public health-public safety partnerships to address the heroin and opioid epidemic from multiple perspectives.
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