Michael Botticelli, Director of National Drug Control Policy, announced this month that the United States Government will provide $13.4 million in funding for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA). Of that, $5 million will be directed to a broad range of efforts that will reduce the trafficking, distribution, and use of heroin – a drug that has emerged as a serious threat to multiple regions of the United States.
In particular, $2.5 million will fund the Heroin Response Strategy, 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.
“The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program helps Federal, state, and local authorities to coordinate drug enforcement operations, support prevention efforts and improve public health and safety,” said Director Botticelli.
In recognition of the unique drug challenges faced by law enforcement agencies in the region along the U.S.–Mexico border, $1.3 million in HIDTA funds will be directed to the five regional HIDTA programs along the Southwest border.
These funds will be used to enhance investigative efforts against large-scale transnational criminal organizations, reduce the flow of dangerous drugs (including heroin and methamphetamine) across the border, and prevent drug use in border communities.
The Heroin Response Strategy will foster a collaborative network of public health-public safety partnerships to address the heroin/opioid epidemic from multiple perspectives. The Strategy will enhance the efficacy and efficiency of the criminal intelligence process in support of cooperative law enforcement operations.
The five HIDTAs will create a 15-state network of experienced, connected law enforcement contacts and leverage these connections and information-gathering capabilities with a strong, complementary, analytical capacity.
“The new Heroin Response Strategy demonstrates a strong commitment to address the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic as both a public health and a public safety issue,” said Director Botticelli.
“This Administration will continue to expand community-based efforts to prevent drug use, pursue ‘smart on crime’ approaches to drug enforcement, increase access to treatment, work to reduce overdose deaths, and support the millions of Americans in recovery.”