Home Ocean County Ocean County Declared ‘High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area’ by Feds

Ocean County Declared ‘High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area’ by Feds

Heroin (File Photo/ Dimitris Kalogeropoylos/ Flickr)
Heroin (File Photo/ Dimitris Kalogeropoylos/ Flickr)

County law enforcement said Thursday they were pleased by an announcement that Ocean County would join the New York-New Jersey “High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area” program.

The county’s inclusion in the program was announced by U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, who said the designation would help bring more resources to the county to fight its ongoing heroin epidemic. The county will now be able to receive federal resources to “further the coordination and development of drug control efforts among federal, state, local law enforcement officials,” Booker said in a statement.  

According to NY/NJ HIDTA data, in 2015 Ocean County had the second highest incidence of heroin-related deaths in the New Jersey, due in large part to the large influx of potent heroin laced with toxic adulterants, including fentanyl.


““I can’t thank the Senators enough for helping us achieve this critical designation, bringing new and powerful assistance to Ocean County’s opioid crisis fight,” Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Cotonato said. “We have long sought the help of this federal drug prevention program to bolster our ability to make substantial impact in our fight to close Ocean County borders to drug dealers. We especially thank Senator Booker for personally advocating so strongly on our behalf. Simply put: This is a game changer.”

HIDTA was created by Congress through the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, and provides assistance to federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States.

In July, Booker was joined by Brick Township Mayor John Ducey, Coronato, health professionals, advocates and residents in recovery for a roundtable discussion at Ocean Medical Center on the heroin and opioid addiction crisis in New Jersey and how the Affordable Care Act has helped expand treatment for individuals battling addiction across our nation. Booker began advocating for the county’s inclusion in the program afterwards.

Monmouth County received the same designation in 2016, and since, has received $125,000 in federal funding to support a team led by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office consisting of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), local law enforcement and other partners to focus on opioid- and heroin-related investigations and outreach.

  • KaayC

    Idk that we want this “distinction” and hope the main focus will go on stopping the importation as mentioned. Treatment programs seem to be of questionable efficacy and are often revolving door band-aids. Law enforced prevention seems the cure in this case. Not sure what “tribal” law enforcement is. Hope it helps. Wouldn’t it be great if monies could instead go to schools, transit and job creation beyond box chain personnel?

  • craigoftruth

    According to the National Center for Disease Control.

    300,000 Americans will die in 2017 from OBESITY and about 60,000 people will die from OPIOIDS during the same time period. Maybe Obesity is a bigger problem (no pun intended) and our money and focus should be on that. Of course it isn’t so fashionable to tell fat people to stop eating. The Prosecutors office would not get any money to go after fat people since it is legal to be obese. Then we have the food addicted Chris Christie telling people how to control their addiction. Oh the hypocrisy of it all.

    • Goodgrief

      Whether you like it or not, most of us want law enforcement to get the narcotic dealers off the streets.

      • KaayC

        Then we need to stop throwing monies at the heroin snifters and go after the kingpins NOT the penny ante pushers.

      • Goodgrief

        All the drug dealers need to be arrested and prosecuted.

  • Pete d