Created by Congress in 1988, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program coordinates and assists federal, state, local, and Tribal law agencies to address regional drug threats with the purpose of reducing drug trafficking and drug production in the United States.

The HIDTA Program oversees 33 regional HIDTAs in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia. Nationwide, the program comprises more than 900 investigative, interdiction, and intelligence-sharing initiatives. Regional HIDTAs also collaborate closely with public health partners on innovative strategies to reduce fatal and non-fatal overdoses and substance use.

Each HIDTA is guided by an Executive Board that includes an equal number of regional federal and non-federal (state, local, and Tribal) law enforcement leaders and is managed by an Executive Director who has previous experience in public safety. Law enforcement officials interested in participating in the HIDTA Program can view the Designation Process below for more information.

For more information about the HIDTAs’ work and successes, see the Program Impacts below.

To view the 2023 HIDTA Designation Map, click here.

Since its inception in 1988, the HIDTA Program has helped public safety officials implement integrated operations against drug trafficking organizations and, with ONDCP’s leadership, has provided the American people with a cost-effective solution to address addiction and the overdose crisis. In 2022, the HIDTAs seized an estimated $22 billion in illicit drugs and cash—representing a return on investment of $82.91 for every $1 budgeted for the HIDTA Program.

  • Removing drugs from our streets. By interdicting and seizing drugs off our shores and within our borders, HIDTAs remove the supply of illicit substances, making it harder for drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) to sell their products. In 2021, the HIDTA Program seized and disposed of over 193 metric tons of cocaine products, 195 metric tons of methamphetamine, 2,900 metric tons of marijuana, 4 metric tons of heroin, and 9 metric tons of fentanyl.
  • Dismantling drug trafficking organizations. By targeting DTOs, the HIDTAs focus on the entities responsible for the majority of the production, movement, and sales of illicit drugs. In 2021, the HIDTAs disrupted and dismantled over 3,155 DTOs, 59 percent of which were part of international or multi-state operations.
  • Promoting best practices and innovations. As a result of the HIDTA Program’s national footprint, public safety officials across the country can share their best practices and information with each other and, because of ONDCP’s neutrality, the HIDTAs can share on-the-ground intelligence with federal agencies for better drug policy.
  • Preventing substance misuse through comprehensive programming. By establishing alliances with public health, healthcare, education, recreation, and other relevant sectors, the HIDTAs help create comprehensive community-based prevention efforts. 
  • Enhancing officers’ safety and coordination. In 2021, the HIDTAs helped public safety agencies share more than 1 million pieces of evidence to unearth connections between cases and perform more than 287,000 event deconflictions, actions that can alert law enforcement officials when their tactical operations are occurring in the same general location and timeframe as other agencies. This has reduced unnecessary officer injuries and contributed to more equitable and appropriate arrests and convictions.

A comprehensive report on HIDTA program accomplishments is available here.

ONDCP accepts petitions for county-based HIDTA designation on an ongoing basis and reviews these applications at least once a year. Regional law enforcement agencies may petition ONDCP for designation as a HIDTA, but new applicants typically request to be admitted to the closest-established HIDTA. Applicants can click here for the Executive Directors’ contact information.

Criteria for Applying

Congress has established the following criteria for determining if a county should receive HIDTA designation:

  1. The area is a significant center for illegal drug production, manufacturing, importation, or distribution;
  2. State, local, and Tribal law enforcement agencies have committed resources to address the drug trafficking problem in the area, thereby indicating a determination to respond aggressively to the problem;
  3. Drug-related activities in the area are having a harmful impact in the area and in other areas of the country; and
  4. A significant increase in allocation of federal resources is necessary to respond adequately to drug-related activities in the area.

Petitioning ONDCP for HIDTA status

The HIDTA Program does not have a pre-set application. Applicants can submit their petition to ONDCP for HIDTA designation by presenting relevant information in sections corresponding to the four criteria listed above. More information about the requirements of the petition process can be found in the Federal Register.

Applicants should direct any questions and completed petitions to ONDCP’s HIDTA program.

To view the current grant terms and conditions, click here.

To view previous grant terms and conditions, click here.

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