A Jersey Shore county that has been waging an ongoing battle against the opioid epidemic is now a member of a federal drug prevention program.
Ocean County’s inclusion in the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program will allow it to receive federal resources for the coordination and development of drug control efforts among federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.
In 2015, Ocean County had the second highest incidence of heroin-related deaths in New Jersey, due mainly to the large influx of potent heroin laced with toxic adulterants, including fentanyl.
“The opioid epidemic plaguing our nation continues to tear families and communities apart across Ocean County and our entire state,” said Sen. Cory Booker, who pushed for the designation. “The key to finding a long-term solution to the opioid crisis is to implement an all-hands-on-deck approach that includes law enforcement, medical professionals, and treatment providers.”
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato lauded his county’s inclusion in the federal program.
“I can’t thank the Senators enough for helping us achieve this critical designation, bringing new and powerful assistance to Ocean County’s opioid crisis fight,” he said. “We have long sought the help of this federal drug prevention program to bolster our ability to make substantial impact in our fight to close Ocean County borders to drug dealers. We especially thank Senator Booker for personally advocating so strongly on our behalf. Simply put: This is a game changer.”
HIDTA provides assistance to federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions in the United States.