SCHUMER: WITH DANGEROUS FENTANYL-LACED HEROIN SPREADING IN UPSTATE NY & OVERDOSES DRAMATICALLY RISING, SENATOR PUSHES TO REVERSE WHITE HOUSE’S PROPOSED ELIMINATION OF DRUG TRAFFICKING PROGRAM - WILL HURT LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
Deadly Fentanyl-Laced Heroin Is Now Entering Upstate New York & A Rising Number of Heroin Deaths Are Linked To This New, More Dangerous Form Of The Drug
Schumer Says HITDA Program Helps Law Enforcement Fight Drug Trafficking & Provides The Surveillance, Equipment, & Coordination With Feds & Local PD’s
Schumer: Eliminating Drug Fighting Program Will Make Our Neighborhoods Less Safe
Today in light of growing use of heroin in the Upstate New York and the prevalence of new, more dangerous fentanyl-laced heroin, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer launched a major push to prevent proposed cuts to a critical Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the agency that oversees the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program. Schumer said New York currently has 24 HIDTAs and each one is essential to efforts to combat heroin and other drug trafficking throughout Upstate New York.
“The President’s counter-productive proposal to gut the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is the most destructive proposal yet to undermine the fight against the opioid and heroin epidemic in Upstate New York,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “Any proposal to eliminate funding for programs, like the successful and vital High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), which is instrumental in aiding local enforcement to prevent drug trafficking in many communities, would effectively make our neighborhoods less safe. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in fighting this backwards proposal and in urging the administration to reverse course on cutting support for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas that are so important Upstate and to reject this proposal immediately.”
"HIDTA has been a crucial component in our battle against drug trafficking in New York State. Central and Upstate New York, like the rest of the country, is being ravaged by heroin, synthetic drugs, cocaine and methamphetamine. Syracuse sits at the cross roads of 2 interstate highways which are major routes that dealers use to distribute their poison from New York City to the rest of the state, up to the Canadian border and west to Buffalo. With state and local law enforcement funding decreasing every year, HIDTA provides us with the resources, manpower and intelligence to put a significant dent in this narcotics traffic. It is hard to imagine the adverse impact its elimination would have on the entire state of New York, especially upstate,” said Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick.
The following counties are designated a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) in Upstate New York: Albany County, Chautauqua County, Clinton County, Dutchess County, Erie County, Franklin County, Jefferson County, King County, Monroe County, Niagara County, Onondaga County, Orange County, Putnam County, Richmond County, Rockland County, St. Lawrence County, Westchester County, Broome County and Ulster County.
“I have worked long and hard – at the request of many local Upstate police departments and mayors – to extend their participation in High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area programs. They help local communities coordinate with federal entities to fight the opioid and heroin drug scourge. Cutting this program takes the legs out of our anti-drug interdiction efforts and makes absolutely no sense,” Schumer added. “In the face of the very scary wave of opioid and heroin drugs flooding our communities, we should be doubling down on law enforcement, treatment and prevention programs, not cutting them.”
Schumer said the HIDTA program helps counties address recent and disturbing upticks in heroin usage and drug-related crime by improving coordination among federal and local law enforcement agencies, as well as by providing equipment, technology and additional resources to tackle this challenge. The HIDTA program funds intelligence-sharing initiatives, drug use prevention and drug treatment initiatives, as well as support for programs that provide additional assistance to law enforcement to do in-depth investigation into drug overdoses and crimes. This has led to the arrest of drug dealers, and the breaking up of major drug rings that bring fentanyl-laced heroin and other drugs into Upstate New York.
Schumer has long championed the effort to expand the HIDTA program throughout Upstate New York. Having helped and advocated for nearly every existing HIDTA through the long federal application process. Most recently in the just passed federal spending bill, Schumer helped secure a $4 million increase to the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Program, which brings the entire pot to $254 million.
The New York/New Jersey HIDTA is one of 28 HIDTAs nationwide, which include approximately 16 percent of all counties in the United States and 60 percent of the U.S. population. There are currently 24 counties in New York that are part of the NY/NJ HIDTA. HIDTA Drug Intelligence Officers in each area are constantly gathering and sharing information to assess drug trafficking patterns, and developing strategies to address the unique needs of each area. The DIO also works with HIDTA officials in New York City to arrange needed funding for equipment and manpower, and coordinates initiatives between local, state, and federal law enforcement officials.
Under the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 and the ONDCP Reauthorization Act of 2006, the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is authorized to declare areas that exhibit serious drug trafficking problems as HIDTAs if local law enforcement groups petition for the designation. Many in Upstate New York are already HIDTA-designated counties, meaning that they receive federal resources to combat drug trafficking and sales. The purpose of HIDTA is to reduce drug trafficking and production in the United States. The program’s goal is to facilitate cooperation among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies; to share information and implement coordinated enforcement activities; to enhance intelligence sharing among law enforcement agencies as well as public health officials; to provide reliable law enforcement intelligence to law enforcement agencies to facilitate the design of effective enforcement strategies; and to support coordinated law enforcement strategies that make the most of available resources to reduce the supply of illegal drugs in the U.S.