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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Virginia

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

White House Drug Policy Acting Director Announces Designation Of 26 Cities And Counties As High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, Including One Western District Of Virginia Location

Cities And Counties Will Receive Additional Support From Federal Program Designed To Disrupt Drug Trafficking Through Coordinated Approaches To Enforcement

ROANOKE, VIRGINIA – Today, Michael Botticelli, Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), announced the designation of 26 additional counties and cities in 11 states as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs). The designations will enable the 26 counties and cities to receive Federal resources to further the coordination and development of drug control efforts among Federal, state, local, and tribal 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.

Locally, Tazewell County in Southwest Virginia was added to the Appalachia HIDTA.

“The admission of Tazewell County into the Appalachia HIDTA program will provide much needed resources for law enforcement in our ongoing effort to stem the tide of opiate abuse in Southwest Virginia,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “HIDTA provides valuable assistance to investigators, including funding for training, overtime and equipment. HIDTA also facilitates information sharing about particular cases and targets across jurisdictional lines. These much-needed resources will support ongoing efforts in Tazewell County and plug that county into a larger, multi-state enforcement network.”

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 problems 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 47 states, as well as in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.

In July, the Obama Administration released a science-based drug policy that addresses the national drug challenge as a public health issue, not just a criminal justice issue. The 2014 National Drug Control Strategy is built upon the latest scientific research demonstrating that addiction is a chronic disease that can be successfully prevented and treated, and from which people can recover. The Strategy directs 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 expand “smart on crime” approaches to drug enforcement while reducing the stigma associated with substance use disorders.

For more information about the Office of National Drug Control Policy visit:

For information on the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program visit:

Updated April 10, 2015