Washington County task force awarded for stemming the tide of narcotics moving through Utah

More than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses last year in the US, with 550 in Utah. A Washington County task force was recognized for reducing the number of narcotics in Utah.

More than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses last year in the US, with 550 in Utah. A Washington County task force was recognized for reducing the number of narcotics in Utah. (Schmidt_Alex, Shutterstock)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

ST. GEORGE — More than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses last year in the United States, and 550 of those deaths were in Utah – where the amount of illegal narcotics entering the state has skyrocketed in recent years. This year, there has been a sharp increase in every type of drug seized by police.

Drug poisoning deaths are the leading cause of injury death in Utah, according to Utah Health Indicator. In fact, drug overdoses kill 10 adults each week across the state on average – which is more than one person a day. Overdose deaths have now outpaced deaths due to firearms, falls and motor vehicle crashes, and in Utah, 80% of those deaths resulted from opioids – a drug that is proliferating nationwide.

To that end, a program to counter drug trafficking across the United States was implemented, dubbed the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, which targets primary routes where illicit drugs are being trafficked. The program consists of drug task force units, which work to combat these illicit shipments from reaching their intended destinations.

The organization also presents an annual award to the task force that goes above and beyond in their efforts to reduce the amount of drugs moving across the U.S. And this year, the distinguished "Drug Task Force of the Year" award was presented to the Washington County Drug Task Force during an event held in Denver.

The award recognizes the program's efforts in curbing the tide of illicit narcotics moving through some of the most intense drug-trafficking areas across the state and is one of 30 programs operating within the Rocky Mountain HIDTA region – which includes Utah, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.

The task force in Washington County is comprised of 15 agents and one analyst and was one of numerous programs nominated to receive the award. It is one of five Utah programs operating within Rock Mountain HIDTA region that includes Salt Lake, Weber, Utah and Davis counties.

Read the full article at St. George News.

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