Baltimore, D.C. due more funds to fight drugs

February 02, 1994|By John B. O'Donnell and Joan Jacobson | John B. O'Donnell and Joan Jacobson,Sun Staff Writers

WASHINGTON -- The Baltimore-Washington area was designated a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area by the federal government today, opening the way for an infusion of federal money into the region.

The official announcement, at mid-day at the White House, makes the Baltimore-Washington area the nation's fifth region to receive the designation under the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988.

The designation will bring about $3 million in federal funds into the area for a "comprehensive strategy to combat drugs," said Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md.

In a prepared statement, Lee P. Brown, director of the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy, said Baltimore will be a prototype for a new form of "High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area" -- one that focuses on drug distribution and hard-core drug users.

"It is not enough to remove dealers temporarily while leaving their clientele," Mr. Brown said. "That just invites other dealers to move in and claim their territory." He said the "the new National Drug Control Strategy that we will submit to Congress next week places special emphasis on hard-core drug users. If we are to make progress against illicit drug use, it is vital that we respond to the needs of those areas with the largest number of . . . users."

Citing an analysis by the Drug Abuse Warning Network, Mr. Brown noted that the Baltimore-Washington area is second only to New York City in the number of hard-core drug users.

In a prepared statement, Senator Mikulski said that the new designation "will mean new resources to fight crime and drugs and it will mean the coordination of federal, state and local law enforcement."

She said the Baltimore-Washington area will be the first of the officially designated high traffic drug areas to include drug-treatment and law enforcement efforts.

Announcement of the designation was being made by Mr. Brown at a White House press conference. Attorney General Janet Reno, Senator Mikulski, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., 5th, and Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, D-Balto Co. were expected to attend.

Mr. Hoyer is chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee that handles financing for the high intensity drug area program, while Ms. Mikulski is a member of the comparable Senate subcommittee.

The five other high intensity drug traffic areas are Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and the southwest border, Senator Mikulski said.

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