George Mason University

News at Mason

Mason central to drug-enforcement intelligence, research with federal trafficking program award

February 12, 2018   /   by Buzz McClain

Cynthia Lum

Cynthia Lum

George Mason University’s Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy has been selected to house a portion of the multimillion dollar Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, the largest of the 28 intelligence-driven drug enforcement and treatment programs in the country.

Mason’s GMU-HIDTA will coordinate the efforts of 18 regional sites of the Office of National Drug Control Policy in an effort to apply innovative methods and technology in combating the region’s drug crisis. A portion of the HIDTA program’s annual budget will support Mason’s intelligence analysts and project managers and foster new research opportunities.

The benefits to Mason’s award-winning CEBCP, a unit of Mason’s Department of Criminology, Law and Society, are ample, as well as being important to the times we live in, said Mason Provost S. David Wu.

“George Mason University and the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy are well-suited to house the HIDTA program,” Wu said. “These are exactly the kind of partnerships that could facilitate faculty research collaboration and direct community impact. For instance, emerging faculty and student research to address the opioid epidemic, a serious public health crisis, could benefit a great deal from the network and connection provided by HIDTA and the partnership.”

Cynthia Lum, director of the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy, said the program provides an incredible opportunity for the Mason and Fairfax community.

“HIDTA will provide Mason faculty and students across various disciplines with new data and opportunity to research prevention and treatment interventions to combat drug trafficking, addiction and related concerns,” Lum said.

David Weisburd

David Weisburd

David Weisburd, executive director of the center, who has collaborated with HIDTA in the past, said the partnership will also advance scientific and policy research about key issues in criminal justice.

“This is a major opportunity for the university and the nation to integrate cutting-edge practice with cutting-edge science, all in the pursuit of reducing drug use and drug trafficking in the United States,” Weisburd said.

Tom Carr, executive director of HIDTA, said the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy is ideally suited for HIDTA’s applied research approach.

“Mason faculty and students alike will have the opportunity to work alongside of HIDTA practitioners to develop solutions for America’s illicit drug and crime problems,” Carr said.

Carr also expressed interest in working with Lum to develop a certificate program at Mason in criminal intelligence.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy designated the Washington/Baltimore HIDTA in 1994. One of 28 HIDTAs across the United States, its mission is to improve interagency collaboration, promote the sharing of accurate and timely information and intelligence, and provide specialized resources to participating law enforcement and treatment/criminal justice agencies partners.