NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — More than $275 million of federal support to fight drug trafficking will be split up among 33 High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA).
Different counties in Tennessee fall into a two different designated HIDTAs. For instance, Shelby County is the only Tennessee county included in the Gulf Coast HIDTA. Meanwhile, Davidson, Jackson, Overton, Pickett, Fentress, Cumberland, Putnam, Grundy, and Franklin counties are included in the Appalachia HIDTA.
Both HIDTAs that touch Tennessee have each been granted almost $10 million in funds to disrupt drug trafficking, and ultimately hurt the drug cartels’ bottom line.
“It’s about protecting lives; it’s about getting resources to local communities, including to our law enforcement officials,” Dr. Rahul Gupta, National Drug Control Director, told News 2.
Dr. Gupta said 3,000 drug trafficking operations and more than 100 money laundering organizations across the country were dismantled and disrupted last year.
“HIDTAs also denied these organizations more than $22 billion by seizing substances that harm the health and safety of our communities and by seizing nearly $500 million in currency,” Dr. Gupta said.
The program is apart of the Biden Administration’s National Drug Control strategy to combat the overdose epidemic.
In addition to helping law enforcement disrupting the drug pipeline, the funding will also support public health initiatives that work to reduce overdoses.
In the most recent 12-month period analyzed, drug overdoses claimed the lives of 106,854 Americans, according to the White House.
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News 2 has been reporting on the spike in fatal overdoses Tennessee has seen over the years. The most recent data from the state shows a significant increase from 2017 to 2021.
A total of 3,841 overdose deaths were reported in 2021, compared to 1,776 reported in 2017, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, the Tennessee REDLINE is a FREE service that provides accurate, up-to-date addiction information and referrals to anyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 1-800-889-9789 toll-free or visit the Tennessee REDLINE website here.