Cummings Statement on Trump Administration Memo Proposing Cuts to ONDCP

May 5, 2017
Press Release
Office of National Drug Control Policy Plays a Vital Role in Fighting Opioid Epidemic

Washington, D.C. (May 5, 2017)—Today, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) issued the following statement on reports that President Donald Trump’s FY18 budget would propose drastic cuts to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, including completely eliminating the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) and Drug-Free Communities Programs:
“President Trump promised the American people that he would solve the opioid epidemic, so I hope these reports are not an indication of his Administration’s intentions.  The Office of National Drug Control Policy, including the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program and the Drug-Free Communities program, are some of the important tools federal, state and local law enforcement agencies have to fight the opioid epidemic.  The programs allow agencies to share resources and best practices to address problems like heroin use and drug trafficking in our communities.
“Many communities in my district, and across the country, will be harmed if we do not invest in these programs.  We must have a comprehensive plan to tackle this crisis.  There are lives at stake.”

Congressman Cummings, whose congressional district includes much of Baltimore, is one of the strongest supporters in Congress of the HIDTA program. 
Historically, the Washington/Baltimore region has been plagued with drug trafficking. By 1998, heroin use had overtaken cocaine use in the region, and in 2000, the Drug Enforcement Administration found that Baltimore had the highest per capita rates for heroin use in the entire country.  
Congress created the HIDTA program in 1988 to promote coordination between federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug trafficking regions of the United States. The Washington/Baltimore area was designated as a HIDTA in 1994. Law enforcement organizations working within HIDTAs assess drug trafficking issues and design specific initiatives to decrease the production, transportation, distribution, and chronic use of drugs and money laundering. In recent years, the work of the Washington/Baltimore HIDTA has led to thousands of drug seizures, fugitive captures, and firearms taken off the streets.