2015 Drug Trends in Louisiana
Louisiana, which has major air and sea supply routes, is primarily affected by interstate highway drug trafficking. Cocaine remains the most prevalent illegal drug in the state outside of the New Orleans area, where heroin and meth are commonly used. Despite a collaborative agreement using mobile DEA enforcement teams, drug trends are rising across the board in Louisiana – especially among youth and young adults. Cuts to funding of public treatment programs that teach how to stay sober are also effecting drug use. There are some initiatives in place to provide more public education, but the larger effort in Louisiana is thwarted by the highway delivery of drugs.
Why are so many drugs arriving by highway?
It is easier to conceal drugs, even in major quantities, when using over the road transportation than air and sea routes. There are too many vehicles, and too many points of access and egress for Louisiana police and the DEA mobile teams to offer effective intervention. The major cartels from Columbia, Mexico and other Latin Countries prefer over the road supply routes for this reason. It also allows them to secure their delivery routes by putting more shipments on the road, with the loss of a few just calculated into business costs. Louisiana has become a major hub for distribution of cocaine to Miami, New York and Texas. Flying out small shipments is easier as exiting flights are not as closely monitored. The issue isn’t one of priorities of the drug enforcement teams, but an attempt to effectively use their teams in trying to cut off the source of the drugs.
What about New Orleans?
The drug issues that New Orleans faces are more representative of the ones faced by other cities across the nation. The high volume tourism and entertainment industry that drives the city economy also means that the illegal drug scene must cater to outside tastes as well. There is a stronger presence of meth, heroin, marijuana and the club drugs, such as MDMA, in New Orleans. Cocaine is not as strong in this area. Meth is starting to overtake marijuana as the drug of choice among youth and young adults. This is partly fueled by its easy availability and affordability on the street. It is also easier to evade detection with a supply of meth than it is with the much bulkier and odorous marijuana product.
Cocaine as crack is also prevalent
Crack cocaine is also present in high amounts in the state. It is cheaper than the refined cocaine that is powdered to be inhaled. A typical kit for creating injectable cocaine can be made from items that cannot be controlled in the way that the essential over the counter ingredients for meth production can be controlled. While the state has prohibited or limited the sale of certain drug related items, controlling the sale of items related to the use of crack cocaine is nearly impossible. For this reason, more of the focus in Louisiana has been on improving education and treatment options. Louisiana does have one of the highest rates of drug recovery and addiction support groups in the South.
The rates of recovery
If there is good news to be found in Louisiana it is that the drug abuse rates in older populations have stabilized or decreased. Unlike neighboring states that are seeing a rise in the abuse of prescription drugs, and poly drug use – both of which extend into the late 40 and above age demographic; cocaine is mostly limited to the demographics of 18 to 35. After the age of 35, the general ill effects of cocaine addiction found by research on the body are felt and many users seek treatment or switch drugs.
The biggest concern of all
In Louisiana, the biggest concern is the rise of meth use among the young. As of 2013, it was rising at a rate that threatened to replace marijuana as the drug of choice among youth. While both have an impact on physical and neurological development, meth has a faster path of decline in user health and functionality than marijuana. New treatment approaches and medications are being sought to help turn the tide. Louisiana is also trying to implement a more effective youth education program, but they struggle against the use of meth as a recreational drug and its pop culture popularity too. More programs and more money are needed to combat youth drug use, but more money is also needed to combat the influx of drugs from the highway system.