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Designation will improve cooperation between local, state and federal officials to combat illegal drugs

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) announced this afternoon the designation of Rockingham County as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), which will provide Rockingham County with additional resources to fight heroin trafficking and other illegal drugs as well as further the coordination and development of drug control efforts among local, state and federal officials. The announcement is the latest development in Shaheen’s ongoing effort to help combat New Hampshire’s heroin and prescription drug public health crisis. 

“HIDTA is a critical component to fighting the heroin and prescription drug addiction problem that has swept through New Hampshire communities,” Shaheen said. “The HIDTA designation will continue to support the collaborative efforts underway at the local, state and federal levels to strengthen drug prevention efforts, expand access to treatment, and ultimately improve public health and safety.”

In June, Shaheen called on Michael Botticelli, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, to support the request to designate and include Rockingham County in the New England HIDTA classification. 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. Shaheen also hosted Director Botticelli for a roundtable in Franklin to discuss how the federal government can work with local law enforcement and public health officials to address the problem.

According to New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NHDHHS), the number of people admitted to state treatment programs increased 90 percent for heroin use and 500 percent for prescription drug use over the last 10 years, with the largest increases occurring in just the last two years.

For months, Shaheen has been working with local, state and federal officials as well as law enforcement and public health experts to collaborate on ways to address the growing heroin and prescription drug problem in New Hampshire. Last week, Shaheen announced Drug Free Communities (DFC) Support Program funding for New Hampshire, which will educate young people about the dangers of drug abuse to ultimately reduce youth substance use. Earlier this year, the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously adopted several provisions Shaheen proposed and which were a direct result of her outreach with federal, state and local officials along with public health and treatment professionals.