Chief Lavoie Talks About HIDTA
May 6, 2016
by Kaylee Murphy
HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas) is bringing resources and personnel to Hudson to help contribute to fighting the drug epidemic.
With the growing concern of the high rate of heroin and meth use not only in New England, but nationally, the Hudson police have quietly and efficiently taken action to help prevent the growth of these dangerous drugs and to reduce the availability of illegal drugs to the public. Hudson PD began to notice a problem in the beginning of 2014 when they saw an increase in overdoses. There were 28 heroin ODs and 53 ODs in total. In 2015, the numbers stayed the same. In 2012, there were only three ODs, and four in 2013. The drastic spike in numbers alarmed HPD and they decided that something needed to be done about this nationwide problem that is now affecting our town as well as surrounding areas.
So far this year there have been 14 overdoses and three deaths, only two of which were attributed to prescription drugs. We are only four months into the year. A few years ago prescription pills were cheap and, therefore, more popular than heroin and meth. However, their prices increased once the demand went up. When this happened, heroin and meth/Fentanyl started to become popular because it was much cheaper.
The firefighters’ statistics are higher because they track the number of ODs by the amount of times they administer Narcan. However, you can use Narcan multiple times on one person at one time. Both firefighters and police respond to an overdose, but the firefighters are the ones that administer the Narcan.
Hudson police joined the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) about three or four years ago to help combat drugs not only in our area, but nationwide. HIDTA was a program created by Congress with the establishment of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. It’s currently being used in certain counties in 48 states as well as Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia. Throughout the country the program funds over 700 initiatives. It’s difficult to be invited into HIDTA. There is some large drug movement in Hudson. HIDTA goes after the larger drug trafficking people.
Operation Trident was over a period of 90 days. They had three goals. The first was to push back borders by going after low-level drug dealers. Low-level drugs dealers are basically dealers that sell smaller amounts of drugs to fewer people, typically to support their own habit. The second goal was to get as much information as possible on larger dealers. The third goal was, if someone had died from Fentanyl, to trace it back to the source.
During this period, 240 arrests were made. The majority of those arrested got sent to drug courts. The purpose of drug courts is to keep individuals in treatment long enough for it to have a meaningful effect. Individuals who are sent there receive treatment that helps them to obtain sobriety, as well as maintain it.
Four major heroin/Fentanyl organizations were dismantled because of this operation and three mills were shut down. Seven handguns were pulled off the streets, 1300 oxycodone pills were confiscated and $1.2 million in assets were received.
Meth can be made with common household items. The Fentanyl that is used to make this drug is a synthetic that is manufactured illegally, in environments that are not sterile. It’s not the same Fentanyl that is used for medical purposes.
Heroin and meth is a huge epidemic all over the country and it is a problem here in Hudson, as well as surrounding areas. With HIDTA’s help, the Hudson PD will be able to combat the rise of dangerous drug production, trafficking, and use.
Having the opportunity to talk with Chief Lavoie and Lieutenant Lucontoni with our reporter, Kaylee Murphy, reinforced that many things occur in Hudson without the general population knowing about them. This one relationship brought resources to bear.
In Hudson, which can only be estimated at over $5 million to reduce the drug problem, without the ongoing professional relationships that the HPD has built and maintained with both state and federal agencies, we would still be waiting for help, as many neighboring towns are.