In light of the growing problem of drug abuse in Virginia and across the nation, communities are in desperate need of additional resources to fight this deadly epidemic. As the number of individuals who are trafficking and/or abusing these substances increases, more and more families and localities are dealing with the seemingly endless damage that addiction is known to cause.
It has been found that some areas have been hit harder by this epidemic than others. Grayson and Carroll Counties in Virginia are two areas that have seen more than their fair share of the harm that accompanies an increase in the amount of drug trafficking on the local level. As such, these counties have been designated as Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA).
While this label may sound disheartening for residents in these areas, it ultimately means that more help will be available from sources outside the counties themselves. Rather than being viewed as a negative label, this classification will ultimately “enhance the ability of federal, state, and local authorities to coordinate drug enforcement operations and improve public health and safety,” said National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli.
More Resources to Combat Drug Abuse
When an area is identified as an HIDTA, the locality benefits from access to additional state and federal resources to help combat drug abuse. According to U.S. Senator Mark Warner, “too many families throughout the Commonwealth (of Virginia) are suffering from the devastating epidemic of addictive and deadly drugs. It’s incredibly important that we stop the flow of drugs to communities in Virginia.”
Warner went on to state, “I’m pleased that Carroll and Grayson counties have been chosen to receive federal dollars to strengthen community-based efforts to prevent drug use and overdose deaths, expand access to treat those who need it, and support Virginians in recovery. There are more counties in Virginia that are in desperate need of additional resources to fight this epidemic, and I will to continue to work with ONDCP to ensure those needs are met.”
So what can communities who receive an HIDTA classification expect to see when it comes to drug abuse prevention efforts and programming? Law enforcement officialise in these areas begin by assessing the current drug-trafficking issues, and then they design specific plans to decrease the production, transportation, distribution, and chronic abuse of drugs within their jurisdictions.
And while there are areas of Virginia that have been hit especially hard by the opioid abuse epidemic, Appalachia has, on the whole, been more deeply affected than other parts of the nation. The other Appalachian counties added to the HIDTA designation include:
- Blount County, Tennessee
- Carroll County, Virginia
- Grayson County, Virginia
- Broome County, New York
There is hope that, combined with opioid treatment centers in the area, the increased support these communities will receive in light of their HIDTA classifications will result in new efforts to combat the deadly cycle of opioid and other drug abuse, and will help increase the health of these locations.