To better combat the drug crisis that is devastating communities across Kentucky, Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) today joined local leaders and law enforcement officials at the Mt. Sterling Police Department to officially announce the designation of Montgomery and Powell Counties as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA). Under the jurisdiction of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the HIDTA program coordinates and brings additional federal resources for localities to use in combatting drug production and trafficking.
As the state that suffers from the third highest opioid overdose death rate in the nation, Kentucky’s Montgomery and Powell Counties are two of only 10 counties nationwide to receive new HIDTA designations this year.
“Kentucky is far too familiar with the harmful impacts of substance abuse and drug trafficking,” said Congressman Barr. “With more than 1,500 Kentuckians losing their lives last year to an overdose, we are in desperate need for local resources to combat this epidemic that is devastating families and communities across the Commonwealth. For these reasons, I have advocated for the HIDTA program throughout my service in Congress, which includes passing an amendment just this year to increase the program’s total funding to $280 million. I applaud the dedication of Montgomery and Powell County officials for working with my office to secure this designation and bolster Kentucky’s efforts to fight drug trafficking and substance abuse throughout the Sixth District.”
Executive Director of Appalachia HIDTA, Vic Brown said, “Montgomery and Powell counties are experiencing an alarming trend of increasing illegal drug activity that is impacting the lives of everyone in every community. We are very fortunate for the inclusion of these two counties into the Appalachia HIDTA and we are confident these additional federal resources will make a difference in combatting illegal drug activity throughout these communities. I want to sincerely thank Congressman Andy Barr because without his commitment, support and hard work we would not be standing here today.”
Chief of Police Wayne Green of Mt. Sterling Police Department said, “As substance abuse continues to devastate our community, the Mount Sterling Police Department greatly appreciates the fact we have been included in the Appalachia HIDTA. With the federal resources made available through this program we will be far better equipped to combat illegal drugs and save lives. On behalf of the Mount Sterling Police Department and our community, I want to personally thank Congressman Barr for his tireless efforts to ensure law enforcement agencies in Kentucky and across the nation get the much-needed help and support to continue the fight against drug trafficking in our communities.”
Before retiring, Mt. Sterling Chief of Police David Charles worked with Congressman Barr’s office to apply and secure Montgomery County’s HIDTA designation. Former Chief of Police David Charles said, “This HIDTA designation, which we worked so hard to obtain, will be a fundamental game changer in our efforts to combat illegal narcotics trafficking in our area. I appreciate Congressman Barr’s support and advocacy for our community’s application as it was vital in securing this designation. This is yet another example of how federal and local cooperation benefits us all.”
“Law enforcement officers in Powell County are receiving the help we need to protect our community from substance abuse,” said Chief of Police Arthur Lacy of the Stanton Police Department. “By joining the Appalachia HIDTA, we can better access federal resources to combat the constant threat of drugs has on our families. Senator McConnell and Congressman Barr deserve the credit for always being strong voices for our community and bringing this important designation home. Our mission to protect and serve the people of Stanton just got a little bit easier.”
Since 2013, Congressman Barr has helped secure HIDTA designations for Madison, Montgomery and Powell Counties in the Sixth Congressional District. This year he offered and successfully passed an amendment to increase the program’s total funding to $280 million. During a meeting with the White House in March, Congressman Barr personally relayed to the President and Vice President his support for keeping the HIDTA program within the Office of Drug Control Policy. He also recommended a greater percentage of the HIDTA funding to be given to states with the highest opioid-related overdose death rates, such as Kentucky, to help local law enforcement better fight drug trafficking.