Being close to Florida, Texas and the North East corridor with major US cities, Georgia is a major drug trafficking center for both smuggling and the shipment of drugs both in and out of the state. The state has an extensive network of highways, a large costal line and one of the busiest airports in the world. Georgia is also intersected by one of the busiest highways in the Country and this transportation access has allowed for drug smuggling on a large scale. The major drugs smuggled into the state include marijuana, heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine.
Cocaine and crack cocaine are both widely available and abused throughout Georgia. The majority of powder cocaine is converted into crack by the local dealers. The major source of cocaine into Georgia is from Texas, Florida and California. The cocaine is smuggled into the state using automobiles, US postal service, trucks, sea and air. In each case the cocaine is hidden in secret compartments.
Colombian cocaine traffickers also frequently utilize the large costal areas of Georgia using the ports of Wilmington, Charleston, and Savannah as cocaine importation points. These same ports are used to smuggled drugs out of the state to the NE corner and across to Europe. Recent drug seizures indicate that large amounts of cocaine are routinely smuggled in via this route.
Heroin is easily available though out Georgia. Recent seizures indicate how major the problem has become in the last decade. All evidence indicates that the use of heroin in the state is increasing with a new generation of younger females users. The major source of heroin is from the south and NE. At the street level, local gangs help distribute the drug. It is thought that the increased purity and decreased prices are the reason for the increased consumption of the drug.
Methamphetamine has overtaken most drugs in the state and current trends show that this is the most commonly abused drug in the state. Recent seizures indicate that the drug is widely available in large quantities in all the counties of the state. The majority of methamphetamine is smuggled in from Florida, Texas and the NE. Because of increased surveillance and monitoring, clandestine laboratories are on the decrease. Recent laws which have helped eliminate >ephedrine have decreased the manufacture of methamphetamine in clandestine labs.
The large night club scene and numerous colleges has been a magnet for users of club drugs. Atlanta has become a major transit for the shipment and smuggling of club drugs. Every type of club drug is available in the State. >MDMA, GHB and Ketamine, PCP and LSD all continue to be popular and remain readily available in and around populations of young people (gyms, college campuses and associated “hang outs”) throughout the state.
Recent seizures indicate that a large amount of club drugs are smuggled in via the US postal service and via air. The easy availability and the cost (3-5$ a pill) has made club drugs one of the most widely consumed drug among college students.
Marijuana remains the most commonly abused drug in Georgia. The majority of marijuana is smuggled in from the south via Mexico. The majority is shipped in via air, automobiles and via the sea. Because of Georgia’s large farming rural area, this has not gone unnoticed by the drug traffickers. Marijuana plots are increasingly developed all over the state. Indoor marijuana cultivation has become more sophisticated using hydroponic systems.
Current investigations indicate that abuse of pharmaceutical products like oxycodone, oxycontin, methadone, soma, valium, percocet and xanax continues to be a problem in Georgia. The primary method of obtaining these drugs is by illegal sale and distribution by physicians, pharmacists, doctor shopping, forged prescriptions pharmacy thefts and via the internet. The majority of these drugs are smuggled in from other states. Pharmaceutical drugs were once only abused by middle class Caucasians; now recent law enforcement data indicate that abuse among blacks, Asians and Hispanics is starting to increase.
Since data tracking began, it is now becoming clear that overdoses and drug-related deaths are not uncommon from the uncontrolled use of these drugs.
DEA Mobile Enforcement Teams have been established in response to the overwhelming problem of drug-related violent crime in towns and cities across the nation. In addition DEA Regional Enforcement Teams have been established to augment existing DEA pision resources by targeting drug organizations operating in the United States where there is a lack of sufficient local drug law enforcement. This program was conceived in 1999 in response to the threat posed by drug trafficking organizations that have established networks of cells to conduct drug trafficking operations in smaller, non-traditional trafficking locations in the United States.
Because of the complex array of highways and interstates, the Atlanta drug control office has designated some areas of Georgia high intensity areas for drug trafficking and monitors these areas on a regular basis.
Numerous bills await passing in the Senate including the drug treatment of the non-violent drug offenders and to debate if marijuana can be used for medical reasons.