Dorchester Co. to receive federal funds to combat drug abuse
The heroin and opiod epidemic has torn apart families and communities acorss Maryland, now Dorchester County has been designated as a high volume area for trafficking.
The program was created by congress in 1988 to serve as a catalyst for coordination among Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies in areas of critical drug trafficking.
Law enforcement organizations working within these areas assess drug-trafficking problems and design specific initiatives to decrease the production, transportation, and distribution of drugs.
Ernie Chance has been a Dorchester County resident for four decades. He has seen the evolution of the heroin and opioid epidemic in the area.
"It started out years ago everybody knew you had to go across the bay to get it, just big cities, but now it's everywhere. It's cheaper now, its stronger than it's ever been, and there's so many people hooked on it it's just incredible."
And the county is now part of the Washington-Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, making the county eligible to receive federal resources to address the severe threat facing the community.
"In my conversations with people there and elsewhere on the shore they've been asking for additional resources to help fight the epidemic," said Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen.
Van Hollen applauded the announcement made Thursday, and explains that the aid can't yet be measured monetarily, but will bring needed assistance in many forms.
"Including direct assistance, but also a lot of information sharing and improved coordination. You'll have the access, you get the access to a lot of the federal law enforcement authorities that are not otherwise available."
Gregory Denson moved to Dorchester earlier this year. He says the key to combating the epidemic is to hit the problem at its source, the individuals dealing the drugs.
"I believe that what we need to do is have a stronger police presence in the areas where these things are prevalent."
While Chance says the key is education, to deter people from getting hooked in the first place.
"If you do away with the market for drugs you don't need drugs there won't be any drugs but once these guys get hooked, it's just bad."