VIEW FROM THE HILL:|
Balto.-DC Is Working Well
by Benjamin L. Cardin
U.S. Congressman, 3rd District
The Baltimore and Washington area is one of 15 locations that have been designated as a "high intensity drug trafficking area" (HIDTA) by the Director of National Drug Control Policy. I recently visited the HIDTA watch center in Greenbelt, MD to learn more about the drug threat that is plaguing our community.
The Baltimore/Washington program also has developed a strong prevention and treatment component that is producing results. It comes as no surprise that there is a strong correlation between drug use and crime. Yet, few localities target drug treatment programs to hard-core drug users.
In its effort to cut the crime rate, the HIDTA program has increased treatment capacity in our area by some 2,400 residential and outpatient slots, targeting hard-core users. The result has been a dramatic drop in the recidivism rate for those who have been through treatment.
In the Baltimore/Washington area, there are four HIDTA offices: Howard County; Greenbelt, MD; the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. Since its inception, the Baltimore/Washington HIDTA program has resulted in the seizure of some $18.4 million in drug assets, and more than 3,600 arrests.
There are no easy solutions to our nation's drug problem, but the HIDTA program has provided a coordinated, well-thought-out strategy for targeting our region's most violent drug traffickers.
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This story was published on May 7, 1997.