Obama Administration Funds New Projects to Disrupt Prescription Opioid, Fentanyl and Heroin Trafficking

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
OFFICE OF NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY

Washington, DC 20503

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, August 17, 2016

CONTACT:
ONDCP Public Affairs: 202-395-6618
[email protected]

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Obama Administration announced $17 million in funding from the Office of National Drug Control Policy for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) across the country. The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program helps Federal, state, and local authorities address emerging drug threats by coordinating drug enforcement operations, supporting prevention efforts and improving public health and safety.

“Through the HIDTA program, law enforcement agencies have taken important steps to address the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic with public health and public safety approaches such as the HIDTA Heroin Response Strategy,” said Michael Botticelli, Director of National Drug Control Policy. “To fully address the crisis, however, Congress must act to provide funding to make lifesaving treatment available to everyone who seeks it. The President has called for $1.1 billion in new funding for States to help expand access to treatment. Every day that passes without Congressional action to provide these additional resources is a missed opportunity to save lives.”

Of the funding announced today, $5.6 million will be used to support thirteen innovative projects nationwide to disrupt the trafficking of prescription opioids, fentanyl and heroin, as well as to help train medical providers in safe prescribing practices and increase the use of the overdose reversal drug naloxone.

The funding will support an expansion to the Atlanta/Carolinas, Michigan, and Ohio HIDTAs of the HIDTA Heroin Response Strategy launched last year. The HIDTA Strategy has filled a void by making connections among cases and providing assistance to law enforcement agencies at all levels. Recently, drug intelligence officers funded through this project notified local police in the Mid-Atlantic region about shipments of heroin laced with fentanyl that had caused overdose deaths. The resulting seizure of more than 400 bags of fentanyl-laced heroin removed these dangerous drugs from the street and prevented potential users from overdosing on them. The project has also expedited efforts to provide law enforcement officers with the life-saving drug naloxone and enabled law enforcement officers to identify individuals who have suffered from more than one opioid-related overdose and, working with public health partners, refer these individuals to treatment programs.

The funding will also support the creation of a Science to Action Coordinator who will work with the eight HIDTA Heroin Response Strategy programs and the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) to implement effective strategies that respond to local opioid overdose hotspots.

$6.5 million will be used to strengthen HIDTA interdiction and investigative efforts and enhance investigative support centers.

More than $1 million will support public health-public safety partnerships working to prevent drug use, which often feature coordination between local law enforcement agencies and their counterparts in public health and education.

Background on the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program
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 located in 48 states, as well as in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.

Background on the HIDTA Heroin Response Strategy
In August 2015, the Office of National Drug Control Policy announced an unprecedented partnership among regional HIDTA programs to address the heroin threat facing those communities through public health-public safety partnerships. The HIDTA Heroin Response Strategy now covers 20 States in eight HIDTAs: Appalachia, Atlanta/Carolinas, Michigan, Ohio, New England, New York/New Jersey, Philadelphia/Camden, and Washington/Baltimore. 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.

Background on the Administration’s National Drug Policy
The President has made clear that addressing the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic is a priority for his Administration and has called for $1.1 billion in new funding for States to help expand access to treatment. While Federal agencies have been using their authority to take every available action they can, Congress needs to take action on what is most urgently needed now – additional funding to make lifesaving treatment available to everyone who seeks it.

The Administration’s drug policy is based on a balanced public health and public safety approach. This approach is built upon the latest scientific research demonstrating that addiction is 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.

For more information about the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, visit: www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp

For information on the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, visit: www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/high-intensity-drug-trafficking-areas-program