Maryland Drug Rehab Programs
Maryland resides in the mid Atlantic region and interstate 95 runs right through the state. Maryland’s drug situation is very complex due to the two metropolitan areas of Baltimore and the suburban counties of Washington DC. The seaport in Baltimore brings in a lot of drug traffic. Maryland’s Baltimore area is highly affected by the heroin traffickers and trade. Maryland drug rehab is on the rise to help stop addiction in the state.
Cocaine abuse and crack cocaine abuse pose a big threat to Maryland as stated by the law enforcement division in the state. Violence is strongly associated with these drugs throughout the state.
Heroin is widely abused throughout the state of Maryland, but its biggest area of concern is Baltimore. With Baltimore Maryland being home to the heroin addict and the crime that comes with its abuse. The demand for this drug is extremely high and sometimes the supply becomes low causing even more problems in the state.
Meth has not yet become a problem in the state of Maryland. It is not widely available and has not shown to have grown in any significant numbers over the last several years but Maryland drug rehab is still available to help with the problem of meth addiction.
Marijuana is still the biggest drug problem throughout the state. It is the most available drug throughout the state. Some growing of marijuana still occurs, but most of the marijuana is trafficked in from the southwestern United States.
Issues related to illicit and prescription drug abuse in the state of Maryland has put law enforcement and legislators on high alert as how best to deal with an increasingly complex problem. The trafficking of both street and prescription drugs to feed the various addictions of numerous Maryland citizens has created a host of negative consequences: increased presence of the criminal element, rampant crime and violence within communities; the inability of individuals to continue being productive in society, impaired physical and mental function, and finally, thousands of deaths associated with the overdose of abused substances.
Why Drug Addiction Has Taken An Undeniable Toll in Maryland2
With a population of a little over 39,728 residents, Hagerstown (county seat of the Washington County) is a perfect example of how drugs has taken its toll in Maryland. Because its size and population has grown significantly in a little over a decade, it is a hub city that has become a center for commerce, transit and trade, with only a few parts still reflecting a rural atmosphere. The continual evolvement of Hagerstown as a major transit zone brings a familiar disadvantage that is all too familiar to other towns and major cities across the nation – substance abuse.
The problem of substance abuse in Maryland is primarily due to its accessible location. Drugs are shipped into major areas by Colombian drug distributors to local dealers from major interstates and routes:
* I-95 – Major interstate that connects principal metro centers along the East Coast
* I-68 – Connects with I-70 near Hancock, Maryland and I-79 at Morgantown, W.VA
* I-70 – Continues west to Frederick, Hagerstown and beyond from Baltimore Beltway
* I-81 – Alternative route (north-south) intersects I-70 near Hagerstown in W. Maryland
* I-83 – Starts in downtown Baltimore, goes north to Baltimore Beltway and continues to York and Harrisburg, PA; offers access to Port of Baltimore (POB)
* I-97 – City of Annapolis islinked to Baltimore Beltway
* I-195 – Commuters can access Baltimore/Washington International Airport from I-95
* I-270 – Bridges Rockville and surroundings northwest to Frederick,MD and I-70 West
* I-370 – Connector route north of Rockville merging to I-270
* I-395 – Offers excellent downtown access to Baltimore from I-95; and the POB
* I-495 – Capital Beltway encircling Washington, DC
* I-695 – Baltimore Beltway encircling Baltimore
* I-795 – Offers access to Owings Mills and Reisterstown from Baltimore Beltway
* I-895 – Acts as a bypass route of downtown Baltimore via Baltimore Harbor Tunnel
* Route 100- This route begins as a six-lane divided expressway at US 29 near Ellicott City and eventually merges back into MD 177.
The availability of all types of drugs is a concern for officials as the population of many cities like Hagerstown grow larger. For example,the most commonly abused drug in Hagerstown alone is heroin. The 2014 trend of heroin abuse in Maryland is mainly driven by young adults aged 18–25 (including those living in suburbs) of whom there have been the greatest increases. In Dorchester County, heroin use has jumped to roughly 400 percent. Harford County, is currently over 100 percent. Likewise, Frederick County is showing about a 140 percent increase and there are huge increases in Wicomico County at 155 percent and Queen Anne’s County at 188 percent.
Heroin is a relatively inexpensive but highly addictive substance processed from morphine. It is commonly packaged in gelatin capsules and appears to have a link with people who formerly took opioid meds like Vicodin and oxycodone (OxyContin). A “stamp bag,” of heroin typically costs about $10 on the street. However, a single dose of heroin may cost someone located in Allegany, Maryland an average of $50.00 (for 0.3grams) to get high. A price such as this may pose a challenge for many people to afford among the curious and the hard-core addict, thus a rise in prostitution, crime and violence are common side effects of heroin addiction in Maryland as more people choose to follow this lifestyle.
Because heroin eliminates the stigma of addiction associated with injection drugs, many new users have made it the drug of choice. The purest form of heroin is marketed predominantly from South America and a few other places as a white powder with a sharp taste. “Black tar” heroin (impurities still remain from crude processing methods) is sticky like roofing tar or hard like coal and is predominantly produced in Mexico and sold in U.S. areas west of the Mississippi River. This type of heroin is usually dissolved, diluted, and injected under the skin, the veins and even into the muscles.
The Most Commonly Used Drug in Maryland2
The most commonly used illicit drug in Maryland is marijuana or hashash. Although marijuana is not considered to be a drug (often viewed as a benign drug) that directly leads to death due to an overdose, smoking marijuana, especially long term, does alter time perception, slows a person’s reflexes and thought processes and creates an emotional addiction. This is the case because once a person forms a habit of using marijuana to get the high they want, they will find it harder and harder to cope with normal everyday stresses and challenging situations in life.
To date, approximately over 10.7 million teens still report that they have used marijuana. The potency of marijuana increased by 175.0 percent and is associated more strongly with juvenile crime than alcohol use. Sadly, the percentage of teens who had ever used marijuana increased over 26.8 percent among 8th graders, 44.9 percent among 10th graders and 28.2 percent among 12th graders in 2014.
According to a recent article released in the Baltimore Sun, a number of bills, supported by lawmakers from a range of philosophical backgrounds, are making a greater influence within the General Assembly to embrace legalizing or decriminalizing the drug.
Although these state legislators were aggressively pushing bills in the last General Assembly session to legalize or remove the criminal penalties for marijuana possession, the ACLU supported decriminalization measure did pass the Senate but died in the House.
There is a growing desire among officials to keep first, second third-time offenders (in some cases) from receiving prison time and to help them enter into programs to avoid them from getting a criminal record. This type of approach is also supported by President Obama’s drug czar, R. Gil Kerlikowske, who also recently stated at an event in Baltimore that the administration supports such an idea. The main objective of the ACLU of Maryland, however, is to still continue advocating reform of Maryland’s aggressive penalization of marijuana possession that is seen as being racially biased which has led to many broken Maryland communities and decreased public safety.
On the other side of the spectrum, law enforcement has seen where violent crime admissions in the state of Maryland have been directly committed when individuals are under the influence of marijuana through arrest data. The state of Maryland spends heavily on marijuana arrests (over $106 million) alone for its possession and ranks fourth on the list (New York and District of Columbia are higher) as having one of the highest marijuana arrest rates in the country, according to a new study by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Statistics of Arrests Among Different Ethnic Groups3
Although Baltimore police have firmly stated that they do not target specific racial or ethnic groups for marijuana arrests, a study reported that African-Americans were five time more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as white people in Baltimore, Maryland which is above the national average, according to the report. On a positive note, the Baltimore Sun recently reported on State’s Attorneys in Maryland who are seeking alternative methods to maximize marijuana prosecution cases. The majority of possesion charges in Maryland are misdemeanors, but the potential jail sentence is more severe than for most misdemeanors. Therefore, the violation of drug laws can result in a sentence of up to five years in jail, or up to one year for marijuana possession.
Marijuana, Powdered Crack and Crack Cocaine Distribution Sentences2
The penalties are harsher for charges of marijuana distribution, or possessing or manufacturing with the intent to distribute. This is considered as a felony charge and carries a potential prison sentence of five years. For example, distributing marijuana (charge of volume dealing equaling 50 pounds of marijuana) is a minimum sentence is five years, and a potential fine of $100,000 in Maryland. It should also be noted that distribution of a small amount of marijuana for no money is usually treated as simple possession.
Maryland law also places a distinction (9-to-1 ratio of powder cocaine cocaine vs. crack cocaine) on trafficking offenses sentences for a volume dealer. A conviction of trafficking 448 grams of powder cocaine includes a minimum mandatory sentence of five years; the equivalent of this amount in crack cocaine is 50 grams which also carries the same minimal mandatory sentence. Ironically, even prisons have a large population of inmates that use serious drugs. In some private circles and parties the availability of a large variety of club drugs has also been noted.
Maryland’s club drug problem is associated with a strong night scene, particularly in the city of Baltimore. As the largest city in the state, Baltimore has a population of 651,154 with an average household size of 2.421. The city’s central location within the state of Maryland (at the head of the tidal portion of the Patapsco River) is the main scene for a thriving rave and nightclub community in which club drugs, like MDMA (Ecstasy), GHB and Ketamine are abused.
However, other club drugs do not carry the same availability or demand as MDMA (known as the gateway drug) and there is growing evidence that MDMA trafficking may be increasing in 2014 as evidenced by several large seizures in Maryland. Aside from the widespread use of MDMA, PCP and LSD are among the most popular rave and club drugs found at parties. The main group who have access to rave drugs are college students who frequently distribute “club drugs” among themselves which is a major cause of concern for enforcement agencies.
How Apathy Further Aggravates Drug Issues in Maryland3
Many people in Maryland still view illegal street drugs/prescription drugs and the various effects from their abuse in an apathetic manner. In other words, it’s not their problem. A common misconception is that individuals coming from a particular segment of society are more likely to become a drug user than those of a different social status, for instance, is why drug abuse continues to increase. In reality, abuse of illegal street drugs and prescribed drugs pose a major threat to Maryland families of every geographic region, educational level, socio-economic background and ethnic and racial group. However, the effects of drug use are often felt disproportionately.
For example, many lower-income communities are heavily saturated with high levels of crime and violence due to these drugs being sold in black markets. Due to lack of health care and other factors, the odds of individuals living a life of long term addiction are higher. Depressants, stimulants, and prescription drugs are prevalent across Maryland, and no family is vulnerable. Because most drugs have an addictive effect after only a few uses, it is easy to understand why so many people get hooked so quickly.
How Gangs in Maryland Influence the Drug Trend2
Present activities among rivaling gangs pose the biggest threat to Maryland cities and communities to date. This would include drug possession with the intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute controlled dangerous substances (CDS). Whenever there is widespread drug trafficking, there are increased incidents of assault, attempted homicide, homicide, violations related to firearms and witness intimidation. Simply put, gangs are motivated to continue operating in Maryland communites because they can make high profits trafficking drugs.
There is no particular area that gangs (Crips vs. Bloods) prefer over the other in the state of Maryland. Non-metropolitan areas such as Hagerstown, Frederick, Waldorf, and Salisbury are currently hotbeds for organized gang activity and related gang violence. Gangs and gang members are also migrating into Maryland areas where the population is growing, such as those located along major transportation routes. They are aggressively recruiting new members in local neighborhoods and schools and are spreading outward from both east and west along Interstate 95’s corridor. Unlike as is typical with street gangs, rebel prison and motorcycle gangs commonly recruit older members, in some instances, who also may have ties to street gangs. Instead of gang activity and gang violence decreasing, it will continue to scourge Maryland’s cities and towns as they expand and compete with one another for more customers, sales, territory and recruits from metropolitan areas, throughout the rural communities and suburbs. These prime locations,then, are certain to be significantly influenced by the presence of gang-related burglaries, sales, robberies, assaults and murders.
Maryland is Seeing Increased Drug Overdoses and Related Deaths2
The abuse of illicit and prescription drugs leads to another statistic in Maryland that officials and law enforcement find hard to face. Just last fall in 2013, the health department issued a public alert on the rise in heroin overdoses. As a result, the department has directed all Maryland counties and Baltimore to come up with overdose response plans. As reported by the health department, young people are not the only group being affected by heroin overdoses. It has found that the increase in heroin overdose deaths was largest among people over the age of 55. In addition, deaths reported in that age group increased by 40 percent! In total, the number of deaths reported for heroin overdoses has increased roughly by 20 percent in central and southern Maryland and roughly 30 percent Prince George’s County and the city of Baltimore,while numbers only slightly shifted in western Maryland and on the Eastern Shore.
One county that is experiencing devastating results from drug overdoses is in Cecil County. Seeing almost an 800 percent increase (almost double spike seen statewide) drug abuse is a major problem here as it is in Caroll and Harford Counties. According to a report released by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the increase in fatal drug overdoses from heroin saw a 54 percent increase. To compare, more people lost their lives from heroin overdoses than their were reported homicides. Cecil County, as candidly described by Governor O’Malley, has now become the leader of having the highest overdose deaths that also includes prescription drug overdoses which is becoming a major public safety and health issue.
Another major killer is methamphetamine which is smuggled across the numerous transits through Maryland and onto the streets. Deaths from meth abuse is a problem looming in Maryland that could turn into an epidemic directly and indirectly. The actual death-related meth overdoses may continue to create another huge problem. As the demand for meth grows, so will the number of meth-related deaths due to explosions in houses and apartment complexes where many attempt to cook and distribute meth in Maryland unsuccessfully. There is no doubt that overdoses causing death is the worst tragedy of the ongoing problem of drug addiction and drug activity found in Maryland that is reaching epidemic proportions.
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