GREENBELT, MD – This morning, Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) attended a briefing with leaders from the regional High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) programs to discuss the response to the opioid and heroin epidemic in communities in Maryland and across the region. At the briefing, Congressman Hoyer was joined by Tom Carr, Executive Director Washington/Baltimore HIDTA; Glenn Fueston, Director of the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention; Chauncey Parker, Executive Director of the New York/New Jersey HIDTA; Jerry Daley, Executive Director of Philadelphia/Camden HIDTA; David Kelly, Deputy Director of New England HIDTA; and Vito Guarino, Heroin Response Strategy Law Enforcement Coordinator.
“The opioid and heroin epidemic has impacted families and communities across the nation, including right here in the Washington-Baltimore region,” said Congressman Hoyer. “While a large component of our response to this crisis has to be expanding our public health resources, the other major component is continued focus by law enforcement on keeping illegal drugs from being brought into our communities and sold here. The federal funding provided through the Heroin Response Strategy is critical to achieve the goals of reducing trafficking, facilitating recovery, and saving lives, and I thank Tom Carr and partner agencies who joined me today for taking the time to discuss how those funds are being implemented.”
“While Congress passed legislation to address the opioid epidemic in America – including my bill, the OPEN Act – we still need to ensure the necessary resources are available to carry out this important and lifesaving work,” continued Congressman Hoyer. “I’m going to keep pushing Congress to invest additional resources in the effort that HIDTA leaders are undertaking. We must not allow heroin and opioids to continue taking lives and destroying families.”
Last August, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced $13.4 million in funding for HIDTA programs to combat opioid abuse, with $5 million directed to a broad range of efforts to reduce the trafficking, distribution, and use of heroin. In particular, $2.5 million funded the Heroin Response Strategy, an unprecedented partnership among seven regional HIDTA programs to address the severe heroin threat facing our communities through public health-public safety partnerships across 17 states.