This report presents findings from an assessment of the Office of National Drug Control Policy's (ONDCP's) program of High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA), which was initially intended to focus additional Federal assistance on targeted areas of the Nation with high levels of drug trafficking.
In 1990, the ONDCP designated five HIDTA's: New York City, Los Angeles, South Florida, Houston, and the Southwest Border. The HIDTA program aimed to concentrate drug interdiction personnel and resources in these areas in an effort to disrupt major channels of drug distribution. HIDTA funding was designed to supplement existing Federal, State, and local resources. This report documents, compares, and contrasts the operations of the five initial sites and then discusses the implications of the findings for the management of the HIDTA program. The report addresses three broad questions: How the HIDTA program functions in each of the five sites, the effect the program has had on interagency cooperation, and how evaluators might measure the impact the program has had on drug trafficking in HIDTA areas. The introductory section of the report is followed by a background section, which provides a more detailed overview of the history and current status of the five sites and their initiatives. This encompasses how the sites are organized and staffed, which agencies participate in the various sites, and the types of initiatives being funded. Case studies of the five sites are presented. Regarding the measurement of the impact of the HIDTA program, this assessment recommends diminishing the emphasis on two stated HIDTA objectives: the disruption or dismantling of drug-trafficking organizations and reductions in drug-related homicides, robberies, rapes, and assaults. It recommends that the primary objective be an improvement in the efficiency and effectiveness of Federal, State, and local law enforcement efforts by progressive compliance with the National HIDTA Developmental Standards. Reasons are given for this recommended shifting of priorities in evaluation measures. Tabular data on each of the five sites and appended HIDTA Developmental Standards and the interview guide
Date Published: June 1, 2001