There is a growing need for Iowa drug rehab centers. The biggest concern in the central and western areas of the state is methamphetamine, but cocaine remains the primary drug of concern in eastern Iowa. Interstates 35 and 29 provide a major transportation port to drug traffickers in the state and also has a major transshipment point for drugs to be transported by interstate 80.
The Need for Drug Rehab Centers Increases
As drug abuse continues, the need for Iowa drug rehab centers increases. Cocaine is a readily available drug and is the second most sought after drug in the state. Crack cocaine arrives to the state mainly from Arkansas and Chicago. Heroin can also be found, but mostly in the eastern part of the state and is usually white heroin. Methamphetamine comes mostly from drug traffickers. The form of meth most often found is the crystallized form known as “ICE”. Marijuana is the oldest, and still one of the fastest growing, problems in the state. It is available in every area of the state, primarily distributed in by drug traffickers, but there are still some small indoor and outdoor growing operations in the area.
All across the country, states are continuing to battle drug-related issues in their communities. The issues relate to an expansive list of problems including illegal use or abuse of prescription drugs, synthetic drug manufacturing, gang violence related to drug trafficking, drug-related cild abuse and teenage substance use. All of these problems are costing their respective states billions of dollars in the areas of education, welfare, law enforcement, incarceration and rehabilitation.
Drug Abuse in Iowa
According to the Governor’s Office of Drug Policy (ODCP), the State of Iowa is under siege from a wide variety of new drug issues. At the top of the list are the following issues:
- The increase in prescription drug abuse
- The dangers associated with methamphetamine labs
- The introduction of new drugs such as synthetic marijuana
- The ongoing trends in teenage drug/alcohol use and child abuse related to the distribution and use of illegal drugs.
Within the last few months, the ODCP has released results from the 2013 Iowa Drug Control Strategy report which details the progress the state has made regarding these issues. While the number of meth labs and deaths related to drug abuse are dropping, more Iowans are seeking treatment for addiction. It’s easy to understand that the drugs are still prevalent in the state if people are still finding and using them.
The Increase in Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drug abuse occurs when patients or other individuals misuse legitimate medications (usually pain medication). The prescription drugsare usually purchased with forged or fake prescriptions or on the streets from dealers. The most frequently abused prescription drugs include Vicodin, methadone and oxycodone. For the year ended December 31, 2011, the state reported 62 deaths related to prescription drug overdoses and another 29 traffic fatalities involving the use of pain killers. It may not sound like an epidemic, but the fact these legal drugs are being abused is a legitimate concern when people are dying.
The Dangers Associated with Methamphetamine Labs
Through September of 2013, Iowa reported a stark drop in the monthly average of meth labs discovered throughout the state. The number dropped from an average of 32 a month in 2012 to only 21 a month in 2013. However, the number of meth labs is still higher than it was just five years ago. Statistics suggest that the recent decrease is attributed largely to the efforts of law enforcement as the number of prison incarcerations related to meth convictions has been increasing on a year-to-year basis since 2009. Also, the state implemented an electronic pseudo ephedrine sales monitoring system to discourage the purchase of meth’s most important ingredient. While this decrease is good news for the state, the dangers associated with the labs are still a major concern. Unsuspecting citizens are being exposed to dangerous chemicals. The demand for the drug remains very strong and out of state traffickers are finding Iowa a strong market due to recent shortages related to meth lab shutdowns. There is also a significantly high price being paid by the citizens as meth addicts are prone to violence and high incidents of child abuse. This translates to a large financial burden on the taxpayers as law enforcement and social service resources are being increased to deal with the problems.
The Introduction of New Drugs Such as Synthetic Marijuana
One of the biggest problems involving synthetic drugs is that while they perform much the same as the drug they are emulating, they are legal to possess if made with legal substances. Illegal drug manufacturers have gotten smarter over the years. The have started manufacturing certain drugs with compounds and substances that are legal to buy and use. Any efforts by state law makers to combat this problem are usually met with the synthetic drug manufacturers altering their recipe just enough to stay within the state’s new stated guidelines. Synthetic marijuana has become very popular in the state due to availability as the drug can legally be purchased online or in stores. With the prices relatively cheaper than grown marijuana, the drug has also become more affordable, especially for teenagers. Finally, the synthetic marijuana is causing an increase in addiction due the perception that the drug must be harmless since it is legal to use.
The Ongoing Trends in Teenage Drug/Alcohol Use and Child Abuse Related to the Distribution and Use of Illegal Drugs.
According to recent statistics, it would appear that children and teenagers are paying a high price due to the proliferation of drugs throughout the state. Since 2002, Iowa has been successful in educating teenagers about the dangers of drugs. The trend shows a steady drop of 11th graders who reported using alcohol, tobacco and marijuana. However, the report still shows that 30% of 11th graders are drinking and that number remains alarmingly high.
While the trends related to teenage drug and alcohol are moving in the right direction, the same cannot be said of child abuse trends related to drugs. It is important to note that according to Iowa law, it is considered a form of child abuse for children to be exposed to or given illegal drugs and alcohol. Many children are being raised in households with drug addicts, drug manufacturers or traffickers. Within this type of environment, the children are often subjected to physical abuse or outright neglect, not to mention being exposed to dangerous chemicals. The exposure to drugs often leads to drugs finding their way into the child’s system. In 2012, there were 1,002 reported cases of children found with illegal drugs in their system. This horrifying trend has been increasing over the last five years or more. These children end up as addicts or are removed from the home and placed in foster care. In 2011, 312 or 36% of the children found with drugs in their system ended up in foster care with 90% of those kids being under the age of six. All of these statistics fail to take into account the fetuses that are exposed to a constant diet of drugs while in the womb. Estimates put that number at approximately 2,500 per year. For legal purposes, this tragic occurrence is not yet classified as child abuse.
The Cost of Substance Abuse to Iowa
Aside from the human tragedy behind drug abuse, there are real societal and economic costs to be paid for substance abuse and the citizens of Iowa are the ones stuck paying the biggest portion of the bills.
The economic costs incurred include:
- Loss of productivity
- Increased need for drug education in schools and through advertising
- Increased crime prevention and law enforcement
- Building of additional prisons and jails
- Increased welfare costs
- Funding of foster care programs
- Increased healthcare costs for uninsured individuals
- State sponsored rehabilitation centers and programs
The cost to society includes:
- Breakdown of the family unit
- Child Abuse
- Increase in drug related crimes
- Gang infiltration in peaceful communities
Iowa’s Love Affair with Methamphetamine and Synthetic Marijuana
It’s no small coincidence that the two most popular illegal drugs in Iowa are both manufactured in labs. As mentioned above, the number of meth labs discovered statewide is on the decline, but where there is demand, supply is soon to follow. The current meth traffic is coming from outside the state. The product is being brought in through channels including gang traffickers. The drug’s popularity is evident by the increasing street prices over the past few years. For the traffickers, meth is the most profitable drug per unit due to the relatively abundant supplies and low manufacturing costs. This keeps the price down for the users who are looking to get high as cheaply as possible. There doesn’t appear to be any specific demographic related to meth use in Iowa. The drug is being used within all age groups, all races and in all parts of the state.
While meth has a solid following in Iowa, the undisputed drug of choice is synthetic marijuana. The attitude of individuals regarding marijuana use within the state has been evolving over recent years. As several states in America have legalized all forms of marijuana, the residents of the state are beginning to take a more relaxed view of marijuana use. It’s still illegal to grow, sell and consume marijuana plants within the states boundaries, but synthetic marijuana has removed some of those obstacles. The distributors have gotten very creative. In a recent sting operation, it was discovered that convenience stores were selling the product as incense. There are no laws regarding the distribution of incense and since the ingredients are all legal, everything is within the boundaries of the law. It’s worth noting that some distributors were arrested when they mistakenly referred to their product as a drug removing any doubt about intent. Iowans use synthetic marijuana because it is affordable, convenient, produces the desired effect and no longer has the stigma of being a bad drug. Because it contains no illegal substances, it is often used in social settings amongst friends and peers. As with meth, the demographic for use appears to be wide open.
Mexican Cartels in Iowa
Late in 2013, reports began surfacing about the possible physical infiltration of Mexican drug cartel personnel into Iowa. They are growing marijuana in camps located throughout the state. In the past, most grown marijuana used in Iowa was brought in from Mexico. Several years back, the Mexican cartels changed their business model and began setting up remote farms throughout the states designed to lower transportation costs and risks. It appears they have being following that model in Iowa. Iowa would be a good target for the cartels due to the rich soil.
The Iowa State Patrol and Narcotics Agents are now on the lookout for these camps. The camps are manned by the cartels 24/7 to protect and look after the plants. Once the plants have matured, they are harvested and immediately sent to the streets for distribution. In a coordinated effort with the Iowa National Guard, these farms are being dismantled once they are located. In 2012, 35 of these operations were raided taking approximately $35 million in marijuana off the streets.
Iowa’s Plan of Attack
According to the ODCP’s Strategic Plan for 2014, the agency will be taking a two pronged approach to combating the state’s drug related problems.
The first goal is to address current drug abuse issues through information and education in order to improve the quality of life in Iowa. This calls for efforts to decrease drug abuse within the state. The targets of these efforts will be government officials, students, parents, teachers and healthcare providers. The plan calls for a high level of coordination between federal, state and local agencies. The ODCP has implemented a Drug Control Policy Guidance Program. This will require 100 percent participation from members of the Iowa Drug Policy Advisory Council (DPAC). The stated goal includes the following metrics to be used to evaluate the success of the program.
- Become the lowest ranked state for % of drug abuse across the nation
- Decrease the number of people entering substance abuse facilities due to methamphetamine addiction
- Decrease the state’s ranking for prescription medication abuse
- Decrease the % of students report drug abuse to a range of 10%-11%
- Decrease the % of students reporting alcohol use to a range of 17$-23%
- Decrease the % of students reporting marijuana use to a range of 5%-7%
- Decrease the % of students reporting prescription drug abuse to a range of 2%-4%
- Decrease the number of opiate related deaths to a range of 30-40
- Confiscate 5 tons of synthetic marijuana
- 100% participation in the electronic tracking program by Iowa’s private sector pharmacies selling pseudo ephedrine products
The second goal is to improve law enforcement performance related to diminishing drug trafficking and drug related violence within the state. This will require a highly coordinated effort to assure that federal grants and the local funding needed to support law enforcement efforts are disbursed in an efficient manner. The following metrics will be used to determine effectiveness of the plan.
- All counties are to receive funding for law enforcement efforts
- ODCP will distribute federal grant monies to 66% of the counties
- 80% of all individuals convicted of a drug offense will successfully complete substance abuse treatment
- Drug enforcement task groups will seize 2.0-2.2 tons of illegal drugs from the streets
- Drug enforcement task groups will seize 220-750 illegal firearms from drug offenders
- Drug enforcement task groups will close 300 trafficking organizations or meth labs within the state
These may appear to be lofty goals, but the ODCP has had success in the past five years in trending most of these goals in the right direction. The only caveat is another shift in the drug market. There are indications in cities like St. Louis and Wichita that heroine may be poised for a comeback. Information like this could require adjustments be made to the existing proposal.
Drugs and alcohol have long been considered destructive forces in America. State after state has implemented plans designed to combat the use, abuse and trafficking of all illegal substances available on the streets. At this point in time, the overall results have been mixed. The overriding problem seems to be society’s demand for drugs.
Iowa is considered a conservative state located in the heartland of America. The drug issues and drug related problems still place a significant demand on the state’s financial and manpower resources in order to keep the problems from spiraling out of control. The ODCP’s efforts have been effective, but they still come up short when the problems still show up on the front page of local newspapers.
The ODCP has no choice but to continue prioritizing the issues and allocating funds appropriately. The statistics support the idea that public education will always be an effective method for reducing drug abuse. By lowering the incidents of teenage alcohol and drug use, the future demand for drugs may be curtailed forcing traffickers to relocate their businesses in other areas.
What about the next generation of Iowans? The truth is that each generation will have new wars to wage when it comes to drugs and alcohol. The economics of the game are too attractive for the traffickers. As long as there is demand, dealers will find the right drug at the right time. Iowa’s challenge is to change the mindset of it’s citizens by pointing out the real price being paid by everyone in the state due to the proliferation of drugs and alcohol within their communities.
Working Diligently to Provide Treatment Across the Country
The need is not just for Iowa drug rehab centers. This is an epidemic that affects every city in every state across the country. Law enforcement and various other agencies work diligently to bring down the number of drugs available, but there is still a growing need for drug rehab centers across the entire United States.
If addiction has invaded your life or the life of a loved one, call today and learn how Iowa drug rehab can help you find the best treatment plan for your special needs.