North Dakota’s Drug Enforcement Agency has paired with local and state governments to try and lessen drug and alcohol dependence within the state. To do this, North Dakota has increased the access addicts have to drug and alcohol rehab facilities and treatment programs. Almost all 53 counties in North Dakota now have some form of North Dakota drug rehab substance abuse programs to help them fight the battle of ending substance abuse in North Dakota.
Current Drug Problems and Need For North Dakota Drug Rehab
The location of North Dakota makes it a prime target for many Mexican drug trafficking organizations especially because of the extensive interstate system and numerous major highways that link it with Canada, Washington, California, Missouri, Chicago, and Minneapolis. As drug cartels continue to realize the benefits of utilizing North Dakota in their drug trafficking across the United States, the problems of major addiction in the state continue to rise with Methamphetamine posing the greatest threat as the number of Meth addictions skyrocket.
Aside from Methamphetamine posing such a huge risk for North Dakota, alcohol addiction and addiction to other drugs such as Cocaine, Heroin, Marijuana, club drugs, and prescription drugs is also on the rise. While Methamphetamine is either produced locally or imported from Mexico or California, Heroin users rely on Mexican drug cartels to supply them with their drugs. Marijuana is grown locally or imported from Canada. Cocaine is not typically found in wholesale amounts within North Dakota but is still a problem. North Dakota’s capital, Bismarck, fights prescription drug abuse, Oxycontin in particular.
Modern life in North Dakota does exist in 2014, but there still are plenty of wildlife and natural elements of beauty found throughout the state. Covering some 70,704 square miles, the state of North Dakota is not heavily populated with people, though there are a few larger cities such as Fargo, Bismarck, Minot and Grand Forks. Clearly, North Dakota is not the kind of state that people automatically think of as having a serious drug problem, but drug issues do exist here within larger cities, within Indian reservations and even within small towns.
Meth: One of the Most Popular Drugs Used in North Dakota
The primary concern for ND law enforcement and public health officials is methamphetamine (meth) abuse and meth trafficking. In North Dakota, the cost of meth per pound is reported as being between $24,000 – $32,000. Because the majority of North Dakota is made up of rural farming communities, there is a huge demand for buying fertilizer (roughly 345,000 tons of anhydrous ammonia a year) from the agricultural industry. Although anhydrous ammonia is legitimately used by most farmers to apply to their fields using nurse tanks, it is also one of the main ingredients used by cooks to make “birch” meth. Aside from the birch method, anhydrous meth is used in several types of popular recipes including Nazi and shake and bake meth methods. As the presence of meth became more visible, meth users were discovered cooking the drug in their cars’ trunks, in store parking lots from a recipe of anhydrous ammonia, ephedrine, brake fluid, Drano, etc. that when smoked, stings the nostrils and makes the eyes water.One popular way many addicts smoke meth is known as “chasing the dragon” where they use a piece of aluminum foil, fold it in half in a rectangle, place a small amount of meth on it and then light the underside.
As a result, the level of crime associated with the theft of anhydrous ammonia began to rise in North Dakota in the early 2000s, especially in Williston. Thefts commonly used in the “Birch” meth lab manufacturing method sharply declined as a direct result of the legislation passed by North Dakota’s State General Assembly. The legislation required that every individual purchasing a product containing pseudoephedrine show a photo I.D. in North Dakota. For a while, small meth labs existing in North Dakota were significantly hampered; they were only capable of producing small quantities of meth at a time, and there was no single dominating trafficking meth organization who could completely take over the distribution of meth in the state. Unfortunately, Mexican cartels have quickly turned the tides on legislation. Homegrown meth for the most part has been significantly squashed due to legislation preventing the transaction of large quantities of meth ingredients, and is being replaced with meth originating from Mexico.
Then and Now: Homegrown Meth and Imported Meth Making a Comeback
The making of and distribution of meth in North Dakota has made a comeback in 2014. Moreover, meth has become a more potent substance available in much larger quantities than before. For example, meth seizures in Ward County has spiked from $63,200 (2012) to $404,600 in 2013. To sum up the comments made by U.S. Attorney, Tim Purdon, organized drug dealers are smart businessmen. They answer to demand and quickly seize the opportunity to distribute and sell drugs by finding loopholes in the system. As domestic and outside organizations (cartels, prison gangs, motorcycle gangs other groups compete for customers, the incidents of violence and drug-related crime rises since trafficking meth by itself, is a very lucrative business.
Although the majority of meth found in North Dakota originates from Mexico, meth is also being produced by small laboratories popping up from within the state in increasing numbers. Another significant trend that authorities are now seeing is that more criminals are coming into North Dakota from out of state, with some having long rap sheets. Because of the state’s dependence on the agriculture industry, there is a high level of use and availability of anhydrous ammonia. The abundant availability of the ingredients for making meth may explain why powder cocaine and crack cocaine are rarely abused in North Dakota. Overall, cocaine is no longer the stimulant drug of choice. According to RAC Behrman, the Fargo office encounters very little cocaine today. Meth, also known as the poor man’s cocaine, surpasses cocaine as the stimulant drug of choice. Prices for cocaine range from $100 to $120 per gram but does not pose a significant threat as meth.
How the Presence of Organizations and Gangs Have Affected North Dakota
Fueled by demand, meth prices have jumped considerably. North Dakota authorities say that a gram of meth selling for $120 in a big city but can cost as much as $200 in Williston, ND. To the surprise of many North Dakotans, law enforcement uncovered a large-scale methamphetamine ring that took root in a state long known for being rather boring, slow paced and untouched by big city drug issues.
Mexican poly-drug organizations who have supply connections in Mexico, California, and Washington transport meth into North Dakota via Greyhound buses, privately owned vehicles, commercial mail carriers, Federal Express (ship meth in smaller volumes from 5 to 10 lbs or a little more) and Amtrak trains. Also, hard-core out-of-state criminals are also transporting drugs by sometimes hiding liquid meth in windshield wiper reservoirs.
The violent members of “The Family” gang were all relative newcomers to Williston. As stated by the Feds, they were running their operation from a few campers nestled behind a white-frame house. The gang was later disbanded in one of the fastest-growing areas of the United States. In fact, meth addiction in North Dakota shows that roughly 60% of the male prison population are meth users. Among female inmates 80- 90% of the prison population were locked up for meth related offenses.
Heroin Use in North Dakota
Virtually all of the heroin encountered in North Dakota, mainly in Fargo, is black tar heroin from Mexico. The Mexican brown powdered version is also available in very small quantities. Small-town police forces are overwhelmed by service calls and overcrowded county jails on weekend nights, and drugs and dealers are showing up in places that people would least imagine. This is also due to gangs. Fargo, North Dakota includes both Native American and African-American gangs and some prison gangs of which the majority are coming from other states who are steadily infiltrating the prison system. For example, heroin is becoming more visible in North Dakota and is now being trafficked on some isolated Indian reservations.
North Dakota, is reporting a rise in heroin because addicts see it as the cheaper alternative to expensive, harder-to-get prescription opiates. Undoubtedly, drug traffickers see the state’s rich oil patch region (boom in the Bakken shale fields has led to growth and wealth in this isolated area) as a window of opportunity to gain more customers, who may already be abusing prescription painkillers among a growing population. The thousands of people moving in from eastern Montana and a part of Canada and other places looking for a well-paying job translates with more money and there has also been spikes in heroin sales in recent years in eastern North Dakota as was commented by Attorney General, Wayne Stenehjem. The following stats give a glimpse of just how much heroin has devastated the state within the past twelve years:
* People charged with heroin-related federal crimes from 2003-2011 was only
* However, in 2012, there were 13.
* In 2013, there were 57 people charged with heroin drug crimes; the alleged conspiracy to sell heroin and other drugs on the Fort Berthold Indian reservation in middle of North Dakota’s oil patch included 42 people in two different indictments.
As a result of the heroin increase in the Bakken region, a new special prosecutor will handle drug cases solely in North Dakota’s oil patch. The new attorney will hone in on drug trafficking organizations that have swarmed to the Bakken region because of its booming population and economy. The attorney will prosecute cases in state and federal court. The position will be financed through the federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program. North Dakota is also pushing a program that is designed to fight the abuse of prescription painkillers by collecting unused medication which is fueling the market for heroin.
Marijuana is one of the primary drugs of abuse in North Dakota, and the presence of marijuana cultivated in Canada has increased dramatically while local cultivation of marijuana is done on a on a smaller scale. Drug organizations from Vancouver and Manitoba use the wide North Dakota border with Canada to transport both “B.C. Bud” and hydroponically generated types of marijuana into the United States of which the majority of these types passes through Bismark and is destined to go to areas outside North Dakota.
Currently, Mexico-based drug trafficking organizations completely control the transportation of marijuana from the Southwest Border to North Dakota, so most marijuana available in North Dakota originates in Mexico; it is also increasingly available from local cultivators. For example, ditchweed is easily available in the southeastern part of North Dakota. To protect their crops, local marijuana cultivators are usually armed and warning devices and booby traps to thwart seizures from law enforcement. As observed by one local resident, Marijuana (weed) is always around between September and May.
The availability of club drugs like MDMA (pure ecstasy) in the Fargo area of North Dakota can be found in small quantities. Its use is increasing slowly throughout the state mainly among high school and college age students. In urban areas, the abuse of GHB is also rising. Ketamine is an emerging threat to the state and the use of hallucinogens has been observed as becoming more widespread by authorities, possibly due to the growing presence of dance clubs and rave parties, psilocybin already has a foothold in certain areas of North Dakota.
Diverted pharmaceuticals being abused, specifically Darvocet, Percocet, Ritalin, and OxyContin, is spiraling out of control in North Dakota. Abusers of Ritalin typically grind the pill into a fine powder and snort it like cocaine or add liquid to it and inject it like heroin. Pharmacy burglary and prescription fraud are the most common methods used to obtain OxyContin. In addition, Fargo has the most substance abuse of any kind in the state, likely because of the large population of college kids. Recent investigations indicate that diversion (illegal sale and distribution by health care professionals and workers, of hydrocodone products is taking place in North Dakota from “doctor shopping” (going to a number of doctors to obtain prescriptions for a controlled substance) forged prescriptions and the Internet.
Synthetic drugs or fake pot is said to be even more dangerous than actual marijuana as noted by North Dakota authorities who are seeing a spike in the abuse of these substances in Bismarck. They are extremely popular on the street and readily available. One such synthetic drug called the “Green Cross” is showing up quite frequently along with another drug called “Stampede”. Although the drug “Purple Haze” is illegal, many fake pot users can still buy “New Dimension” that has resulted in many overdoses. Synthetic weed (looks and smells like marijuana) carries different names, but the packages for the most part look about the same. The manufacturer mark these packages as incense, and state “not for human consumption” “lab certified”, “legal” in red letters.
However, many preteens and teens are using these substances to get high by smoking or injecting them, choosing to ignore clear warnings written on the packages. On average, convenience stores can sell up to 100 packs of these substances a day. Aside from buying fake pot in local convenience stores, people can also get it over the Internet. Unfortunately for the state, the types of drugs being used by locals are changing so fast, that the state can barely keep apace with existing and new drug trends, according to Assistant Attorney General for North Dakota, Julie Lawyer who specializes in prosecuting drug cases for North Dakota. Although the state has made progress in making some of the chemicals used to make fake pot illegal, manufacturers quickly compensate by concocting new chemicals in their products.
The biggest hurdle that legislators are working on now is coming up with a law that is designed to make all fake pot substances illegal so that their harmful effects are controlled, but not in such vague terms that people don’t know they are illegal.
Why Fake Pot Became So Popular
North Dakota was one of the first states to ban certain types of fake pot. This was necessary due to the severity and seriousness of herbal incense side effects. In spite of the health risks involved, fake pot became wildly popular because users could smoke or inject the substance without it showing up in conventional drug tests. The explanation for this is that fake pot does not produce the metabolite (delta-9-THC, which is the primary active component of marijuana) in urine that would exhibit after smoking cannabis. This meant that users could smoke JWH infused herbs safely without worrying about losing their jobs or failing to get hired because they failed a drug test. The comfort zone for JWH smokers is narrowing, however. Now that JWH compounds are banned because of their harsh side effects, researchers have now developed a simple to use test for detecting synthetic pot in urine.
The North Dakota Retailers Meth Watch Program
Meth is mainly transported and distributed by Mexican organizations based in California and Washington throughout North Dakota. With the trafficking of meth becoming more pronounced, the feds are pouring in additional resources to bolster local police and drug task forces. In addition, a partnership between a number of concerned North Dakota retailers and the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation was formed to meet the following objectives:
•Increase the level of awareness across North Dakota of the meth lab issue.
•Educate and train retail employees to pinpoint the tell-tale signs of individuals that are obtaining the necessary ingredients of the illegal production of meth.
•Limit the accessibility of ingredients used to make meth.
The city of Bismark, which is the state capital of North Dakota, has a population of about 55,532. It lies in Burleigh County and is located on the Missouri Plateau directly across from the Missouri River. Bismark’s economy depends on the state government, manufacturing, healthcare and retail trade.
The illegal drug trade is also an ongoing problem. The damage to society in the state of North Dakota, and specifically in the city of Bismarck, goes beyond the gradual destruction of addicts themselves. Drug-related illnesses, drug overdoes, lost hours on the job, and theft from within families and businesses has harmed countless communities, who are trying to deal with an epidemic that has no long term cure. A growing trade in meth, heroin, cocaine and marijuana, plus increased crime and violence in western, eastern and southeastern North Dakota has left many North Dakota citizens and families feeling unsafe and afraid in their own neighborhoods.
Take Control of Your Recovery Journey
Addiction has no happy endings in life for anyone. For those that are ready to make the commitment to a sober and successful future, North Dakota drug rehab can help provide a way to reach that goal through their many drug and alcohol treatment facilities. If you or a loved one are ready to seek help for addiction, our licensed addiction counselors can help you design a treatment program that will allow you to take control of your recovery journey and find the path to a life free from addiction.