In the state of Mississippi, marijuana is the most common and widely abused drug in the state. The drug, which is transported from Texas and in the northern part of the state, is grown locally. Even though marijuana is the most commonly abused drug in Mississippi, law enforcement officials feel that the biggest drug threat in the state is crack cocaine, and the recent rise in the abuse, manufacturing and trafficking of methamphetamine within the state. These drug problems are cause the need for Mississippi drug rehab to climb.
Mississippi Drug Rehab Centers
Methamphetamines are transported into the state, but there has also been a rise in the number of Meth labs in Mississippi. These Meth Labs are not only dangerous to the individuals who are manufacturing the drug, but to law enforcement officials and rescue personnel who are called to the scene when a Meth Lab is discovered.
Other drugs like MDMA, LSD, GHB, and Ketamine have been popular in the past decade with the college aged kids, and also with the high school age teenagers in Mississippi. The abuse of heroin, as reported by state law enforcement officials is not as common in the state, but can be found in the more urban areas of the state. The type of heroin found in Mississippi is usually Mexican Brown Tar, but the South American white variation of heroin can be found as well.
The abuse of prescription medications is also common in Mississippi with individuals forging prescriptions, doctor shopping, and selling the medication to the obtain on the street. The abuse of prescription medications like Oxycontin has been on the rise, and the abuse is present in all different racial and socio-economic groups.
Mississippi-Drugs, Legislative and Public Health Concerns in Mississippi
In a recent survey, 6 percent of Mississippi residents admitted to illegal drug use. Between 2005 and 2006, the state reported the highest amount of drug use among individuals age 26 and older. One report states that 9,000 males and 8,000 females had struggled with substance abuse and addiction in the previous year at the time the study was conducted.
Drug Court in Mississippi
Mississippi has revisited many of his policies on how substance abuse is treated in the legal system. The drug court system was designed as a response to the call for a need for a better approach to dealing with non-violent offenders. The treatment based model was embraced because of its suitability for any jurisdiction. The first of court this kind started in 1995. In 2003, a law went into effect allowing for drug courts to operate in county, justice youth and municipal courts. Research indicated that potentially $5.4 million in savings could be realized from just admitting 500 participants into a statewide drug court program and providing participants with counseling.
Impact of Cuts to Drug Court Programs
The programs provide an alternative sentencing method for those battling substance abuse problems. Funding for these programs are provided at the state and local level. Rather than sending a person to jail and contributing to the recidivism rate, officials thought it made sense to increase access to different forms of counseling programs. The closely monitored programs are credited with saving taxpayers millions but they will see extensive cuts in recent years. Funding was expected to drop funding for 50 of its drug court programs throughout the state. Those concerned about the cuts suggest keeping funding place because of how much they have helped people overcome their addiction. Counseling provided them with a new beginning in life and a clean record if they successfully completed the counseling program, which enabled them to have job opportunities.
There were $3 million in funds were cut from the budget recently. Forty-two percent of the funds previously allocated toward these programs were eliminated. Statewide funding for adult drug courts will be cut by 25 percent. A 58 percent reduction in spending for drug courts for juvenile is expected to have quite the effect on teen crime and unemployment. In order to operate all of the federal drug courts in the state, $7.6 million has to be spent. The anticipated cuts will be felt most among the juvenile populate where most of the spending to juvenile courts will be made.
Supporters of the program believe that intervention among juveniles is important because of the opportunity to end the behavior before it becomes a cycle. Consequences for these cuts include many juveniles slipping through the cracks and not completing their education, which would ultimately increase their chances of becoming offenders in the adult system. Spending is a major concern when it comes to incarceration of nonviolent offenders. The typical stay for an inmate in a jail is $41. An enrollee participating in a court program costs $7.89 per day, critics point out. While many of the courts will not be closing, many will be cutting back on services. The courts who rely the most on public funding will be most affected by the lack of available funding.
Mississippi and marijuana
The state has been divided on how it handles the use of medical marijuana. The recent bill SB2763 was drafted into response of an outcry for broader access to medical marijuana to seriously ill patients. Legislators are often divided on whether or not this is advantageous to citizens. The measure ended up failing.
The bill failed despite the recognized need for such a program. Mississippi is current classified as a decriminalization state. The state issues a fine for first time offenders who are in possession of 30 grams of marijuana. Individuals are issued a summons and required to appear in court. The individual offers proof of identity agrees to a court date appearance.
One of the biggest challenges is address the needs of adolescents in Mississippi. In a recent study, there were 21,000 adolescents admitted to using marijuana in the previous month. The risks for binge drinking in conjunction with marijuana use between 2003 and 2006 were similar among both women and men.
Arrests in Mississippi are quite high. There were 10,401 arrests in state of Mississippi for 2007. Mississippi ranks 14th in the nation for marijuana-related arrests. The state ranks 29th in the nation for maximum sentencing for marijuana arrests. It also ranks 12th in the nation for stiffer penalties associated with marijuana possession when arrests occur. In 2007, marijuana possession accounted for 91 percent of the marijuana-related arrests made. There were 957 arrests made in 2007 for distribution and sales of the drug.
Drug overdose and morbidity in Mississippi
In the last decade, the rate of deaths relating to overdoses reached 232 in 2011. The highest rate of deaths occurred between 45 and 54 year old people. Thirty-one percent of the accidental drug related overdoses occurred within that age group. Twenty-five percent of drug overdoses between 2007 and 2011 occurred in the 35 to 44 age group. Mississippi ranks 30th in the nation for prescription drug-related overdoses. The 25 to 34 age group accounted for 21 percent of the deaths. For every 100,000 people, 11.4 individuals will overdose on prescription drugs the Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic states. In 1999, the rate of overdose was 3.4 per 100,000. Since then, that number tripled. The state ranked 5 out of 10 for possible indicators in terms of its strategies used to address the major public health issue. Since 1990, the rate of drug overdose increased 10 fold. In Mississippi, there were 334 people who died in 2007 from drug overdose. In the state, 95 percent of the overdoses that occurred were a result of prescription drug medications.
Prescription drug abuse in Mississippi
The northeastern region of Mississippi has been experiencing an increase in prescription drug abuse. The region consists Tupelo, Fulton, Pontotoc, Okolona, Amory and Booneville. According to the Tupelo Police Department, the amount of prescription drug medications being sold on the streets is comparable to the quantities of crack and marijuana. The department arrested more people for illegally selling prescription drugs than any other type of drug in 2013. In 2007, 25 percent of the drug arrests made were for opiates. The theory is that people feel more comfortable with taking medically prescribed drugs. The prescription drug medication is made consistently. Addicts prefer the drug because there are no ups or downs associated with the other street drugs. In 2009, the North Mississippi Narcotics Unit made 78 arrests for distribution of pharmaceutical drugs. In 2013, the numbers climbed to 294. The top five most dispensed medications in the state of Mississippi hydrocodone, tramadol, alprazolam, zolpidem and clonazepam.
Trends: Decline in methamphetamine use in Mississippi
The northeastern region has seen a decline in the number of methamphetamine. In 2010, a law was passed that increased penalties for possession of the key ingredients used to manufacture meth. In 2009, there were 338 arrests made for methamphetamine drugs. In 2013, there were 23 arrests made. The region has seen a noticeable decline in amounts available on the streets. Ice, a crystallized version of the drug, has increased in availability on the streets. According to the unit, there were 62 arrests made in 2013, a major increase from 2009, when there were only 14 arrests. The number of meth lab seizure incidents in Mississippi increased 334 percent between 2007 and 2009.
Trends: Meth trafficking, Mexican cartels and southern Mississipi
Mexican drug cartels have increased their trafficking efforts in the South Mississippi region the crystal version of meth made available in through trafficking is of higher quality than the other types available through smaller, local labs. The crystal appearance of the stimulant is clear in appearance and much more potent than the others found of the street. The increased trafficking activity is attributed to the stiffer laws enacted prohibiting the possession of raw materials and ingredients used to manufacture the substance.
The ice version of meth is manufactured in super labs. The home meth labs that were once the primary source of meth in the region were only able to produce several ounces of ice every 24 hours. The super labs are able to produce 10 pounds of ice every 24 hours. Meth can be 90 percent pure in potency.
Trends: Heroin use on the rise in Mississippi
Heroin use is up significantly across the United States. Mississippi law officials report difficulties in determining how they can manage the growing popularity of heroin use in the state. Drug enforcement professionals attribute the growing popularity of the drug to prescription drugs. The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics reports that 45 heroin arrests were made since 2009 and that nearly two-thirds occurred in the last two years.
Welfare testing in Mississippi
The state has come under scrutiny for implementing measures that would require welfare recipients to be tested to remain eligible for welfare benefits. The bill would require this of all applicants in the future. The bill was recently signed into law and is slated to go into effect July 1. Anyone who applies for assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families will have to fill out a questionnaire and be tested. If the person agrees to treatment, they can receive the benefits as needed. The benefits are suspended if the person does not receive counseling for their addiction. The program is intended to help people get their lives in order so that they are better able to care for their children. Critics of the policy argue that this could adversely affect young children who may require the assistance. Others show concern over the costs associated with running such a program, where testing is $1.25 per examination and the treatments are $25.00 per session. Supporters of the measure believe that will help individuals make better choices regarding their lifestyle.
The National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment report states that there were only 112 centers in the state. In 2009, 259 individuals were admitted for cocaine abuse. Males accounted for 61 percent of admissions. Admissions for addiction counseling for marijuana use were highest among 21 and 25 year old males. For the 1,481 patients admitted for treatment for marijuana addiction, 30 percent were female and 70 percent were male. In 2009, the most common reason for entering rehab was marijuana, which is most popular between the 21 and 25 year old age group. In 2009, there were 655 patients admitted into the drug counseling program for heroin. Fifty percent of those admitted were males. There were 1,368 people admitted for their addictions to both alcohol and drugs. Between 2003 and 2006, 43.8 percent of people were admitted for substance abuse problems. An additional 33.8 percent were admitted for treatment for both drug and alcohol abuse. Majority of the referrals made to rehabilitation facilities were referred by the criminal justice system. Seventeen percent of the admissions were for marijuana addiction. Twenty-four percent of the admissions were for cocaine abuse. Another 7 percent were for synthetic drugs. Another 6 percent of the admissions were for methamphetamine.
Pregnant women, Mississippi law and substance abuse
The state has recently revisited how it will handle child abuse and child welfare laws when it comes to pregnant women battling addiction. The state has explored stiffer penalties for women who are pregnant and have drug addiction. Recently, the state fell under scrutiny for how it handled at 15-year-old who lost a child in a stillbirth. Although there was no evidence that the addiction played a role in the child’s birth, Rennie Gibbs faces life in prison for the child’s death. Legislators underestimated the impact manslaughter laws would have on expectant mothers. In Mississippi, current laws allow for aggressive prosecution of women who directly contribute to the death of another human being. The state further defines gestation as the period from conception to live birth. The way the laws read allow for great latitude in how it is applied to those who are expecting and engage in risky behavior like drug that could lead to the death of child.
Mississippi drug law and workplace accidents
Recent laws in Mississippi were passed to require people to prove their sobriety during workplace accidents. Previously, employers had to bear much of the responsibility in proving that drugs or alcohol had something to do with the injury that occurred in a workplace environment. Now the burden of proof is on the employee to prove that they weren’t under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the workplace incident that resulted in an injury. Critics of the law believe that employees can become overly aggressive when it comes to testing employees for drugs where the incident could not have resulted from any type of injury.
Drug use in teens
In Mississippi, 40 percent of males and 26 percent of females have used marijuana. Cocaine use was much lower among teens in Mississippi. Three percent of males and 1 percent of females admitted to using cocaine. Nine percent of teens in Mississippi reported experimenting with prescription drug medications. Four percent of teens who were identified as having a need for counseling failed to receive it. It is estimated that 8,000 teens between 12 and 17 in Mississippi needed help for their prescription drug addiction but were not getting the necessary counseling they required.
Trafficking and drugs in Mississippi
Mississippi has multiple areas of concern when it comes to trafficking. Its central location makes it an ideal location for wholesale purchases of drugs in bulk. Its close proximity to the border serves as an ideal location to transport items to major markets like Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta and Miami markets. Currently, the northern region receives much of its drugs from the Memphis area. Cocaine poses a significant threat to the law enforcement community and citizens of the state. The connection between cocaine and violent crime is disturbing to individuals. Gangs in the region play an important role in the trafficking and distribution of cocaine. Most of the cocaine seized in Mississippi is based out of Texas. Much of the heroin is trafficked by the Mexican cartels. When it is seized, it is in route to cities like Chicago and Atlanta. Large quantities of prescription drugs are obtained from Mexico or along the border towns in Texas.
The state has encountered different problems in meeting budget challenges for rehabilitation for those with substance abuse problems. Legislative concerns centered on workplace safety, protecting unborn children, TANF welfare testing, and prohibiting the possession of certain items have all been highly controversial in nature and met with resistance. Finding alternative paths to treat those with substance abuse problems and giving them the access to the care they require is becoming increasingly difficult with budget cuts. The next frontier will undoubtedly be about finding ways to meet these challenges through funding and sound public policy.
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