As the name suggests, the High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program aims to target areas that are known to be epicenters of drug sales and reduce drug use in these areas. Established in 1988 through Congress’ Anti-Drug Abuse Act, HIDTA’s objectives are four-fold: 1.) to promote cooperation by federal, state, and local governments in implementing and enforcing strategies for reduce drug sales in identified areas, 2.) provide means to access greater intelligence in these areas, 3.) to promote the sharing of this intelligence among various levels of government (federal, state, local, and tribal), and 4.) to support the development and enforcement of strategies on the part of any and all government entities at these levels to reduce trafficking in these areas.
The annual budget for HIDTA is $250 million annually, and 600 Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents have been designated to support this program. Areas targeted for this program are selected based on whether they are known sites of drug production or sale, whether the local or federal government has already designated resources to combating drug problems in these areas, and whether the manufacturing or sale of drugs is having a harmful effect on the local community. There are currently 28 areas served by the HIDTA program.