Last week, Senator McConnell announced that Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske has included Hardin County, Kentucky, in the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). In August, Sen. McConnell continued to advocate on behalf of Hardin County's HIDTA designation during a meeting with Director Kerlikowske in his office in the U.S. Capitol.
Senator McConnell said: "With expansion of Fort Knox, Hardin County is the fastest growing county in the state, sits at an important transportation crossroads, and has endured a significant increase in drug-related crimes. The inclusion of Hardin County into the HIDTA will result in local access to federal law enforcement, training, and technology resources to combat threats from illegal prescription drugs, meth production, marijuana cultivation, and other dangerous drugs."
Kentucky is losing more than 82 people a month to drug overdose and nearly 1,000 deaths were attributed to drug overdoses in 2009, more than those killed in motor vehicle accidents. In 2010, law enforcement responded to 1,100 meth labs across the state and Kentucky ranks as one of the top marijuana producing states in the nation. Prescription drugs, primarily opiate narcotics, are considered the number one drug related problem faced by Kentucky law enforcement.
Elizabethtown Police Chief Schiller said: "Senator McConnell was eager to help facilitate the HIDTA designation and had a keen understanding of both the need and the potential positive impact on our community. He worked hard to ensure the Drug Czar understood Hardin County's challenges, and he was instrumental in helping make this happen."