The location of Indiana has made it an active hub for drug transportation and distribution both in and out of the State. The northern part of Indiana lies on Lake Michigan, which provides a major sea way access. In addition, numerous major interstates cross into Indiana and make it very easy for transport and to smuggle drugs. The major route of drug transportation is via the interstates using automobiles, cars or vans. The dominant drug cartels are the cartels that are organized, violent and well integrated with many other ethnic groups. These groups control the distribution of cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana in the State of Indiana.
Both powdered cocaine and crack cocaine are easily available throughout the state. This one drug has been associated with a high rate of drug violence, crime, money laundering, rampant shootings and social upheaval. The majority of the cocaine drug trade is controlled by the cartels.
Heroin is the least readily available drug in Indiana. The South Eastern heroin controlled by the gangs has now been replaced by the Mexican brown heroin and black tar heroin. The majority of distribution of heroin is done by some very violent organizations that are very territorial.
Methamphetamine continues to be a common drug of abuse and its use is increasing exponentially in Indiana. The drug is smuggled in by the drug cartel organizations and transported via trucks, cars and vans. To increase profits, the product almost always is contaminated and not as potent as the local product. The locally made methamphetamine has had set backs since the Indiana Government forbade the sale of pre synthetic chemicals like ephedrine and pseudoephedrine in cough products. In addition, the intense scrutiny of law enforcement has led to closure of many methamphetamine laboratories.
The abuse of club drugs such as Ecstasy (MDMA), GHB, Ketamine, and LSD is not as significant as in other states. Seizures of club drugs are rare and the quantities are small. Most of the club drugs are smuggled in from other States. The majority of users appear to be college students who frequent night clubs.
Marijuana abuse is a nationwide problem and Indiana is no exception. The majority of marijuana is smuggled in from Mexico and distributed by both local and cartels. Because of the easy access to an integrated network of interstates, the major route of smuggling is via trucks. Locally grown marijuana is not so widespread but authorities have identified that rural area, national forests, game parks and public land is frequently used to cultivate marijuana. However, Indiana has a sophisticated air surveillance system and the DEA’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication and Suppression Program has led to eradication of numerous crops in Northern Indiana.
Current investigations indicate that abuse of prescription drugs and hydrocodone products such as Vicodin, oxycontin and Percocet continues to be a problem in Indiana. Primary methods of persion being reported are illegal sale and distribution by health care professionals, “doctor shopping” and forged prescriptions. Recent drug seizures indicate that Xanax, Valium, and methadone are also in the list of pharmaceutical drugs being highly abused in Indiana.
DEA Mobile Enforcement Teams have been established in response to the overwhelming problem of drug-related violent crimes in towns and cities across the nation. Since the inception of the MET Program, thousands of arrests have occurred. In addition DEA regional enforcement teams have helped 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.
In 2004, the State of Indiana expanded the prescription-monitoring program to include Schedule II to Schedule V pharmaceutical controlled substances.
Indiana was quick to realize that imprisonment of every drug offender was not cost effective and that the drug addicts were not all criminals. The state legislatures acknowledged that keeping all drug offenders in prisons was costing tax payers more than $75 million a year. To free up space in their state prisons and save taxpayers money, modern drug reforms were passed in 2001 which allowed nonviolent drug offenders to receive drug treatment, home detention or work release instead of prison time.
In the words of State Rep. B. Patrick Bauer (D-South Bend), "Many of these prisoners are drug offenders who are not dangerous to society. They are only dangerous to themselves. We put them in prisons, which are known as schools of crime, they come out hardened and two of three go back. We're trying to stem the tide of building prisons. It's a tax savings, but also perhaps we need to focus more on drug rehabilitation."
Today Indiana has improved its drug treatment and drug rehabilitation programs from money seized during drug raids and is helping drug addicts recover without confining them to prison.