New technology revealed at JCHSEM Partnership Meeting
Jefferson County Homeland Security and Emergency Management held their annual luncheon at the Charlestown Casino on January 27th. Many guest speakers were at this event, including Tom Carr, the head of the Washington/Baltimore HIDA area.
HIDA or High Intensity Drug Area means that a certain area has been chosen to be federally assisted through funds to help local law enforcement to combat the high amount of drugs in a certain area. This means the federal government assists in an array of ways that range from money to help properly fit and train officials or even reimbursing for vehicle use.
At the luncheon, Carr listed facts about how much enforcement has accomplished since HIDA was set in place last year. The main statistic was that 2,730 organizations were disrupted last year with federal aid. Tom also showed a new tool for local law enforcement to use regarding overdoses in their area. This application, titled OD Map, can provide a real time surveillance system for both law enforcement and civilians.
Carr said, “For the first time, we can provide real time info regarding OD’s. That means faster response times, and more places enforcement can cover.”
Many local and federal officials alike were also attendants of the luncheon. One of these attendants was West Virginia Senator John Unger. Senator Unger spoke on how he feels that this epidemic is a disaster, and that it should be treated as such.
Unger said, “When you look at natural disasters, there are certain responses that people do that are very much applicable to this heroin epidemic. It is a disaster, so we need to treat it like a disaster.”
Unger also said that this epidemic is a local problem that will be solved by local enforcement, with the help of federal hands, not the other way around.
“We as a community need to come together to combat this. It’s going to be solved through local means with the assistance of financial aid,” he continued.
The meeting also brought to light other factors that go in to being a HIDA area. One of these factors being that the Washington/Baltimore
area is the only HIDA area that also federally funds treatment for substance users.