The office of National Drug Control Policy has designated a Shore county among 18 new regions considered “high intensity drug trafficking” areas.
Monmouth County was included on the list released late Thursday, and was the only New Jersey county added. In the New Jersey-New York region, Niagara County, N.Y. was also added to the list. Monmouth County is also part of the office’s Heroin Response Strategy designation.
The new designations will enable the 18 counties to receive federal resources in the future to “further the coordination and development” of drug control efforts among federal, state and local law enforcement officials, according to a statement issued by the office of Director of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli.
Monmouth County joins Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Passaic and Union counties in New Jersey to share the designation.
“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,” said Botticelli, in the statement. “To fully address the crisis, however, Congress must act to provide funding to make lifesaving treatment available to everyone who seeks it.”
The Obama administration has called for $1.1 billion in new funding for states to help expand access to treatment, the statement added.
Created by Congress in 1988, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program serves as a catalyst for coordination among law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be “critical drug trafficking regions” of the United States, the statement said. 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 located in 49 states, as well as in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.