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8 counties deemed drug trafficking areas

June 20, 2011 at 7:08 PM

WASHINGTON, June 20 (UPI) -- The head of U.S. drug control policy said eight counties have been designated High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas and will receive intense coordinated focus.

The areas include Orange County, N.Y.; Mendocino County, Calif.; Porter County, Ind.; Lexington and Richland Counties, S.C.; Harford County, Md.; and Putnam and Mercer Counties, W.Va., an Office of National Drug Control Policy release said Monday.

"Close collaboration with our federal, state, local, and tribal partners is a critical component of our efforts to reduce both the demand and supply of drugs," Director of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske said. "By designating these counties as HIDTAs, we will create a powerful catalyst for cooperation among federal, state, local, and tribal agencies working to make our communities healthier and safer."

Coordinated efforts by law enforcement agencies within HIDTAs assess drug-trafficking problems and devise precise initiatives to cut down production, manufacture, transportation, distribution and repeated use of drugs and money laundering.

There are 28 such areas in 46 states as well as in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.

The ONDCP said overall drug use in the United States has dropped significantly during the past 30 years. The number of Americans using illicit drugs is about half what it was in the late 1970s, the release said.

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