In the state of Louisiana, there is a wide variety of drug abuse that is affecting the people of Louisiana and rising the need for Louisiana drug rehab centers. The different types of drugs are various, but the most common drugs that are being abused include crack cocaine, cocaine, heroin and homegrown marijuana. Recently however, there has been an increase in the abuse of methamphetamines and the manufacturing of methamphetamines in Louisiana. Because the state has thousands and thousands of waterways that can navigate throughout the state, controlling drug trafficking in Louisiana is difficult.
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Cocaine and crack cocaine are the most prevalent abused drugs in Louisiana, with many of these drugs originating in Miami, Florida and Houston Texas. Law enforcement agencies throughout the state have increased their efforts to control this drug trafficking but yet it persists. Heroin, while still a threat in Louisiana is not as common as the abuse of other drugs, however in New Orleans they have more of a problem with Heroin than the rest of the state.
Methamphetamines is the fastest growing drug problem that the state of Louisiana has seen in a long time. In Louisiana the problem with methamphetamines is not merely with the abuse of the drug but also the trafficking and manufacturing of the drug. Where there was virtually no problems with methamphetamines 5 years ago, the problem with this drug is now statewide and appears to be growing despite the efforts of state and local law enforcement agencies.
Louisiana is continually combating major alcohol and drug abuse challenges. While alcohol dependence and abuse as well as rehab admissions for its use have been significantly decreasing in recent years, this is not the scenario for drug dependence and abuse of drugs. Prescription pills, heroin, marijuana, meth and cocaine all contribute to the ever-increasing drug problem in this Southern U.S. state.
However, even with the steadily rising drug problems in Louisiana, it is still among the ten states with the lowest rates of marijuana use in the past five years and past month among the 12 to 17 age group as well as past year cocaine use.
The illegal drug threat in the state is generally attriibuted to the widespread abuse and availability of major drugs. Commonly used drugs comprise the bulk of illegal substances that are shipped through and arrive in the state. Overland transportation utilizing commercial and private vehicles continues to be the most typical smuggling approach in the State of Louisiana.
Elevated security measures due to the September 11th attacks have deterred transportation of the majority of drugs through commercial air travel. Caribbean, Mexican and Colombian traffickers traveling to and from Houston, Miami or the southwest border through western and eastern routes are largely responsible for the distribution and transportation of marijuana, methamphetamine, crack and cocaine into Louisiana.
Additionally, local and regional traffickers ensure widespread availability of these illegal substances throughout Louisiana. What is worse is that regional traffickers have made significant progress in the distribution of designer drugs such as GHB and MDMA especially near metropolitan areas in the state where there is a large population of college students.
Aside from that, a number pharmaceuticals such as Oxycontin have gained a foothold in the illegal drug market at an alarming rate. In some areas within the state, Oxycontin is deemed responsible for more deaths than any other type of pharmaceutical drug.
The widespread availability of powdered cocaine and the abuse and distribution of crack cocaine are still the main illicit drug threats in Louisiana. Law enforcement agencies continue to make large seizures of this illegal substance especially in powdered form along Louisiana’s southern interstate corridors. Law enforcement personnel in the state remain concerned because of cocaine’s huge impact on the community and its direct correlation to incidents of homicide and violent crimes.
Miami and Houston are the main source cities for cocaine in the state. Black American and Mexican criminal groups are the main wholesale distributors of powdered cocaine in the state. Aside from that, Jamaican, Haitian, Dominican and caucasian syndicates distribute powdered cocaine at a wholesale level in the city of New Orleans to a lesser extent. These criminal groups supply wholesale quantities of cocaine in its powdered form to Hispanic and black American Gangs as well small and independent local dealers who convert much of the powdered cocaine acquired to crack.
Illegal abuse, trafficking and the production of methamphetamine continues to be the fastest growing drug problem in the State of Louisiana. Mexican criminal groups are usually the main primary wholesale distributors of this prohibited substance that is manufactured in California, Mexico and Southwestern states. Locally produced methamphetamine is often distributed by caucasian independent dealers.
Due to the rural nature of Northern Louisiana, iodine crystals that are commonly used in handling farm animals and as a precursor chemical used in the process of methamphetamine manufacturing are widely accessible. Anhydrous ammonia is also readily available within the state.
Because of the recent increase in the seizure of clandestine laboratories that are producing this illegal substance, law enforcement agencies can expect a steady increase in clandestine meth lab investigations. Almost nonexistent just a few years ago, methamphetamine related arrests and prosecutions are now happening on a statewide basis.
The movement of drugs within the State seems to be from north to south. Law enforcement agencies in the state have noted a direct relationship between methamphetamine and violent crime, child abuse, domestic violence, aggravated murder and assault. Another factor is the profound environmental damage that comes from methamphetamine production along with the associated cost of remediating these laboratory sites.
Aside from that, methamphetamine distributors and producers sometimes resort to violence in order to protect their territories and laboratories. Some of these producers are heavily armed and have booby trapped their laboratories in order to guard against theft by competitors and law enforcement seizures.
The most recent crime threat in the state involving methamphetamine is the theft of anhydrous ammonia. There have been a number of incidents where people were arrested for stealing anhydrous ammonia from businesses. Additionally, in-state methamphetamine production has become an important issue in Louisiana. EPIC Statistics reported that 89 laboratories were seized in 2013 compared to 132 laboratories in 2012. This indicates an overall decline in illicit manufacturing.
Heroin abuse and distribution is not a major threat in Louisiana with the exception of the area immediately surrounding New Orleans. The majority of heroin that enters the State comes through transit routes that run from California and Texas to either the Northeast or Midwest U.S. Heroin abuse and distribution in New Orleans has reached an all time high and advanced this city into a regional center for the distribution of this illegal drug.
Heroin is transported through body carry on commercial airline flights, commercial parcel delivery services and commercial buses as well as ships from Colombian ports. The type of heroin that is available in New Orleans is of South American origin and has purity levels as high as 45 percent. When it is cut with mannitol, the drug’s color is off-white. However, the majority of street distributors also utilize brown sugar to cut their product. This results in heroin that has a slightly darker color.
The main consumers of Colombian heroin are usually young middle to upper class white adults residing in the suburbs of New Orleans. They often come into the inner portions of the city to purchase the drug. This particular group of users also has a higher possibility of overdosing because of the heroin’s purity levels.
Reports from New Orleans drug abuse centers state that the high purity levels found in heroin have resulted in an increase in highly addicted patients and the number of overdoses. Younger abusers are mixing this illegal substance with other drugs to experience a cocktail effect. Law enforcement agencies also noted that caucasian youths frequent housing projects in the city to search for heroin.
Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug in the state of Louisiana. The majority of marijuana that is consumed in the state is produced in Mexico. However, marijuana that is produced in neighboring states and locally is also readily accessible. What is worse is that the availability of high-grade domestically produced marijuana has rapidly increased due to modern techniques of indoor cultivation and the use of hydroponics and cloning to increase the drug’s overall potency.
In many regions of the state, the price of this illegal substance has been decreasing. This trend is mainly due to the availability of marijuana that is produced in Mexico and brought in from hub cities in Texas such as San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. A common practice among distributors of this illegal substance is to bulk up marijuana that is domestically made with lower quality, less expensive marijuana that is produced in Mexico in order to increase profits.
Mexican cartels clearly dominate the greatest portion of the wholesale distribution of marijuana through Texas into Louisiana. Street gangs and local independent dealers dominate the retail distribution of marijuana that is made domestically.
· Club Drugs
Although some illegal substances are either holding steady or declining in their distribution and use, club drug abuse among young adults and teenagers is on the rise in the State. Treatment and police counselors throughout Louisiana report an increase in the use and availability of MDMA or ecstasy, Rophynol, Ketamine, GHB and LSD. MDMA and GHB are the drugs of choice, and end users are young whites coming from all economic levels. GHB is particularly dangerous because it is a clear liquid that resembles water and can be consumed unknowingly. Rophynol is sometimes used as a recreational drug, but it is primarily utilized to render a person helpless after it has been slipped into their drink. Ketamine has veterinary uses as an animal tranquilizer but produces hallucinogenic effects when humans consume it.
MDMA from sources in Florida, Texas and California is often distributed to college-aged adults. Aside from that, counterfeit pills are also being sold to young adults as MDMA. This has become an extremely lucrative business in nightclubs within New Orleans. Most recently, Vietnamese trafficking groups have begun playing an important role in the influx of ecstasy into areas within the vicinity of New Orleans.
· Other Illegal Substances
The illegal abuse, distribution and diversion of oxycodone products including Oxycontin has become a significant threat especially in the state’s southeast parishes. It is being abused at a rate that law enforcement agencies describe as epidemic. The problem is mainly due to physicians who write prescriptions for the drug without performing proper examinations and screenings.
There is also some amount of evidence that the use of this drug will continue to grow. Pharmacies within Louisiana have seen an increase in robberies and burglaries as distributors and thieves seek to obtain this illegal drug along with other commonly abused prescription drugs.
The Statistics Do Not Lie
In the State of Louisiana, a survey-weighted hierarchal Bayes estimation predicted that the total number of people with a drug abuse problem or illicit drug addiction over a one year period was 121,000. An estimated 59,000 of the people with an illegal drug addiction problem in Louisiana over a one year period were 26 years of age and above.
On the other hand, an estimated 41,000 people who abuse drugs over a one year period are between the ages of 18 to 25. The study also found that only 21,000 people who are addicted to drugs are between the ages of 12 and 17. This finding indicates that there are lot of young people who are abusing drugs in Louisiana.
Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug in the state especially among the young. A 2009 survey of Louisiana high school students shows that more than 40 percent of them have tried marijuana during their lifetime. What is worse is that 20 percent of them have used this substance within the last 30 days.
The survey also found that 10 percent of the respondents tried marijuana before they reached the age of 13. In a sign that the marijuana abuse problem will continue to grow, more than half of the parishes that have been surveyed reported that they reached the highest levels of admission for marijuana abuse last year.
Although heroin abuse is increasing in the New Orleans metropolitan area, the problem is still at a minimal level throughout the rest of the state. However, there are some findings that are quite alarming. Female arrests in New Orleans have increased from 3.4 percent to 7 percent in just one year.
At the same time, the number of men testing positive increased from 12.9 percent to 13.5 percent. A 2011 survey of New Orleans high school students showed that 3.4 percent of them have tried heroin at least once in their lifetime. This data coincides with a national level survey that was released in November of 2011. This survey found that 4 percent of high school students nationwide have tried this illegal substance at least once in their lifetime.
Even though there is some evidence that crack and powdered cocaine has leveled off in recent years, it is still a major threat. According to the study, cocaine-related arrests in the New Orleans area have decreased 11 percent after remaining stable for a couple of years. However, the study noted that there has been an increase in the number of primary cocaine treatment admissions. According to the study, more than 5,754 individuals were admitted to treatment centers with cocaine as their primary drug of choice last year. This is higher than in 2012 where only 5,024 people were admitted to treatment centers.
Study findings regarding the abuse of methamphetamine are another major concern. Law enforcement agencies recently reported an upswing in methamphetamine use among young people. According to the study, less than 1 percent of those arrested in New Orleans tested positive for methamphetamine use at the time of their booking. The majority of methamphetamine users are white males between the ages of 15 and 40.
People are mainly attracted to the euphoric effects of the drugs. This is also one of the main reasons why this drug is now being used at many rave parties. What is worse is that its use is also increasing among ravers due to the drug’s effectiveness at keeping users’ active and awake for long periods of time.
Crime and drug use are closely related in the State of Louisiana. In fact, the state has some of the highest violent crime rates in the U.S. despite recent reductions in almost every category in every major city. Despite the decrease, Louisiana had the highest murder rate in the nation in 2009 with a rate of 10.7 murders per every 100,000 residents. Many of these were related to or influenced by drugs.
Aside from that, New Orleans has a rate of 34 murders per 100,000 people. During the first six months of last year, 120 drug-related murders were committed in the city compared to 80 in the same period the year before. The New Orleans Police Department estimated that 75 percent of homicides are drug related. According to them, this can be mainly attributed to street gangs that are involved in drug distribution. The majority of law enforcement personnel believe that the increase in the number of homicides is related to turf wars among heroin distributors.
Additionally, Louisiana has one of the highest incarceration rates in the U.S. Many of the inmates are incarcerated for drug-related offenses. According to data that was published by the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, over 30 percent of these prisoners are held for drug-related crimes. This is second only to those who are imprisoned for violent crimes that often have roots in drug distribution and abuse.
A Health Concern
The number of deaths and health care issues attributed to illegal substance abuse provide a grim scenario of the drug problem in this state. According to a study published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the number of deaths attributed to the use of drugs has increased 10 percent from 2011 to 2012. People aged 21 to 29 have the highest rate of illicit drug deaths at 59 percent with the second highest rate belonging to 18 to 20 year olds at 30 percent.
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