The state of Maryland is located in the most ideal position for drug traffickers. It is intersected by I 95 and easily accessed by several large cities from the NE, Midwest and South. The state and its surrounding counties offer a major complex of interstates with easy access to most major cities. In addition, Baltimore has a busy harbor which contributes significantly to drug smuggling I 95 intersecting Baltimore has had a number of major drug and weapons burst. Being centrally located, Baltimore is heavily involved in the drug trade and is considered the most heroin plagued city in the United States
Cocaine, crack abuse and distribution have been a major problem for the State for more than 3 decades. Crack cocaine is heavily abused and most of the major counties located along the Baltimore and Washington interstate have had a crack cocaine problem. Associated with crack cocaine use, has been drug related violence, homicides, prostitution, poverty and social disharmony in the community. Cocaine is ready available throughout the state and the trade is controlled by a number of groups.
Heroin was once the most abused drug in Maryland, but today it is a major inner city problem. Heroin addicts are located mainly in Baltimore and heroin related crime is till on the rise. The majority of heroin is from Mexico and South America and distributed by the local street gangs. The demand for heroin has continued unabated in Maryland, partly because of its easy availability, cheap price and potency. Once a drug primarily used by the most hard core addict, today it is a frequent drug of abuse among teenagers and young adults. In downtown Baltimore, heroin is easily available and sold in small tablets and capsules.
Methamphetamine has not caught on in the State and the demand has remained low. Every now and then, clandestine meth laboratories have been raided. However, these laboratories only manufacture a small amount of the drug. Asides from the local stuff, methamphetamine from Mexico occasionally appears on the street. The drug has not caught on with drug users yet. Authorities believe that it is only a matter of time, before methamphetamine will become the most commonly abused drug in the state
Due to the thriving night life, club drugs are heavily abused in Baltimore. MDMA, Ketamine, GHB are all available but ecstasy is the most heavily used. The majority of the users are college students and teenagers. Club drugs are frequently smuggled in from New York City, Texas, Georgia and Washington.
Marijuana it the most widely abused drug in Maryland and remains easily available in every part of the state. Low levels of marijuana cultivation occur in the state, primarily in western Maryland and along the eastern shore, where private farmland and public parkland are conducive to growers' concerns for anonymity. However, most of the marijuana that is trafficked into Maryland is imported from the southwestern U.S.
Current investigations indicate that persion of oxycodone products such as OxyContin continue to be a problem in Maryland. Primary methods of obtaining prescription drugs include doctor shopping, pharmacy thefts, forged prescriptions and via the internet. Other drugs also involved include benzodiazepines, methadone and xanax. Recently, counterfeit drugs from Mexico have heavily infiltrated the lucrative market.
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 augmented existing DEA pision resources by targeting drug organizations operating in the United States where there is a lack of sufficient local drug law enforcement. Because the Washington and Baltimore area is considered a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, funding of three multi-agency enforcement task forces and an Intelligence group exist to counteract the drug and violent crime.
Maryland's prison population has tripled in the past 20 years. Over the last 2 decades, Maryland's per capital state spending on corrections grew by over 100%. By way of comparison, per capital state spending on corrections grew at four times the rate of increase in higher education spending.
DPA is focusing on reforms to Maryland's criminal justice system, building on the success of getting a treatment not incarceration bill passed in 2004. That bill now perts thousands of nonviolent drug offenders into drug treatment programs, saving Maryland taxpayers millions of dollars a year in the process.
Along with the Partnership for Treatment, in 2007 the DPA also worked to promote two bills, which would allow some decision making power to judges during sentencing. These bills would give judges the discretion to suspend a portion or all of a mandatory minimum sentence on a case-by-case basis. The legislation also seeks to make people sentenced under a mandatory sentence eligible for parole and drug treatment. If these bills pass, the reforms will be retroactive, meaning that people who are currently serving mandatory minimum sentences will be able to apply for parole or treatment.