WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, Congressman Tom MacArthur, Republican Chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, has announced that the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has designated Ocean County as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).
Recently, Congressman Tom MacArthur led a letter to the ONDCP urging the addition of Ocean County to the HIDTA program and has met with local, county, state and federal law enforcement officials to discuss the importance of the designation. Additionally, the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, which he co-chairs, successfully fought against drastic budget cuts to the ONDCP and the HIDTA program.
This designation helps coordinate joint efforts among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, and provides funds for resources needed to combat drug trafficking in problem areas.
“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,” said Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato. “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 SenatorCory Booker for personally advocating so strongly on our behalf. Simply put: This is a game changer.”
“Ocean County has been devastated by drug addiction,” said Congressman Tom MacArthur. “Last year, 190 Ocean County residents died from an overdose—that’s one death every 43 hours. Our local law enforcement officials are on the front lines of this fight and need help to get dealers off our streets and stop drugs from flowing into our communities. This designation is critical for Ocean County and will ensure our police officers have the assistance and resources they need to save loved ones. I will continue to fight for our community and support local law enforcement in their effort to protect our neighborhoods and rid our streets of drugs and the criminals who profit from ruining people's lives.”
“Drug trafficking is a national problem that has to be addressed on the local level, and adding these counties to the HIDTA program is a critical part of this effort,” said Richard Baum, Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy. “These new designations and the funding they will bring will help our federal, state, and local law enforcement officers work together to disrupt and dismantle the trafficking networks that are bringing drugs into our communities.”